Air quality improvement in NCR

Before this pandemic, we used to sit on our balconies, watching a gray Metro Manila skyline blurry with smog, quietly wishing for picture-perfect blue skies.

Thanks to the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon halting all forms of travel since 17th March, it seems that our wish has been granted by Mother Nature. On 23rd March, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was happy to report a significant improvement in air quality in Metro Manila

DENR Air Quality Improvement report March 23 2020
Image credit: DENR National Capital Region

Drop in particulate matter 

In terms of particulate matter – or the mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets in the air – a number of cities were graded “good” and “moderate”, with Parañaque, Pasay, Taguig, San Juan, Malabon, and Marikina city taking the lead for the lowest amounts of air pollution. 

According to DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, some of these numbers are actually a 50%-85.18% drop from the usual pollution levels

“Makikita natin talagang ‘yung drastic fall ng number when it comes to particulate matter, 10 nung ating pollution, ‘yung air quality natin. Would you imagine, umabot pa hanggang 85.18 percent ang drop ng numero no, dito sa may Marikina? But ‘yung iba, mayroong na-drop, average kung titingnan natin lahat is more than 50 percent talaga ‘yung na-drop,” he said in a 24 Oras report. 

(Translation: We really can see the drastic fall of numbers when it comes to particulate matter, 10 points for our pollution, our air quality. Would you imagine that it reached even an 85.18% drop here in Marikina? But elsewhere, there’s a drop too, on average, if we were to factor in everything, there is more than a 50 percent drop.)

Sierra Madre in its full glory

Two peaks of Sierra Madre
Image credit: Johair Siscar Addang

Because of the improved air quality, skies have cleared and the Sierra Madre mountain range can now be seen in its full glory from the city. Various netizens have taken to posting photos of this rare sight online.

Netizen Johair Siscar Addang posted his view of the mountain range from Lumiere Residences in Pasig. 

Johair Addang's Facebook post of the Sierra Madre photos
Image credit: Johair Siscar Addang

The two mountain peaks caught in the photo are namely Mt. Oriod, the higher mountain, and Mt. Balagbag, the lower peak on the left. 

His photos went viral, and netizens reacted with throngs of shocked emojis. Netizen Mikka Demol even suggested that the mountain range can now rival Japan’s Mount Fuji. 

Netizen comparing Sierra Madre to Mount Fuji
Image credit: Mikka Demol

“Yelo na lang sa tuktok Mt. Fuji na. Gondo,” she commented. (“[Just put] ice on top, and it will be Mt. Fuji already. Beautiful.”)

Towards better air quality in Metro Manila

But we shouldn’t be complacent with this piece of good news. The world needs to take greater steps towards combating climate change, especially once this health crisis blows over. After the dust settles, we hope that we, as a society, can address such long-overdue environmental issues.

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Cover image adapted from: Johair Siscar Addang

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