University of the Philippines scientist lists “new normal” habits to keep “good” air quality

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UP scientist new normal
UP Baguio Oblation. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.

University of the Philippines (UP) scientist Mylene Cayetano has listed new habits in the “new normal” to keep the “good” air quality observed during the enhanced community quarantine to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The lockdown that stopped most work and transportation in Luzon island and several other areas in the country has also resulted in an observed diminishing of air pollution, according to the U.P. report released on May 5, 2020.

“Clean air in cities has become a luxury. Normally, we need to go to the seaside or the lush provinces to breathe in cleaner air. And it took us a total lockdown, a number of front liners (COVID-19 mortalities) to attain this,” said Dr. Mylene Cayetano, an Associate Professor from the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

The environmental scientist also said the lockdown with its negative effects should not be the way to rid the country of air pollution.

“Not to mention the trillions lost in the stock market, and jobs lost by our fellowmen. LGU funds are depleted to feed the people. We wouldn’t want this scenario again to attain clean air,” Dr. Cayetano added.

The UP scientist recommended choosing “new normal” habits that allow cities to maintain “good air quality” as she called on all sectors to consider putting the matter of air pollution in the post-ECQ agenda.

Dr. Cayetano called on the government to:

  1. strengthen and quickly implement long-term solutions such as mobility, mass transport system, green cities, urban planning, road space to non-motorized transport systems, fuel economy, clean energy
  2. increase transparency in the emission testing system, proper and rightful apprehension to emission testing violators
  3. set-up more motor vehicle inspection systems
  4. ensure roadworthiness compliance to all vehicles including armored vehicles, with no exemptions
  5. think about protecting hospital zones which are located along major thoroughfare used by trucks and pre-euro vehicles

For individuals, Dr. Cayetano recommends the following choices:

  • if you own a vehicle, avoid unnecessary idling
  • avoid burning solid wastes in open spaces
  • avoid smoking in public places
  • be responsible for your own vehicle. Follow the periodic maintenance schedule and minimum protocols and drive a road-worthy vehicle
  • inform as many people as you can about the disadvantages and benefits of clean air
  • learn more about the science of air pollution and how you can help prevent it by checking Airtoday.ph

The University of the Philippines has led innovations and research addressing the nation’s needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the first Philippine-made COVID-19 Test Kit and RxBox vital signs monitor.

TELL US in the comments below what post-ECQ habits and lifestyle would you want to adopt in the “new normal”?

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