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March 14, 2023

Mandaluyong City Has Worst Air Quality In The Philippines Based On 2022 Study

According to the latest IQAir 2022 World Air Quality Report, Metro Manila’s air quality is way dirtier than the recommended standards set by the World Health Organization. The WHO recommends a PM2.5 reading of 5 µg/m3, but Metro Manila is almost three times that at 14 µg/m3.

Particulate Matter 2.5 or PM2.5 refers to fine inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 2.5 micrometers and smaller. Studies show that short-term exposures (up to 24-hours duration) have been associated with premature mortality, increased hospital admissions for heart or lung causes, acute and chronic bronchitis, asthma attacks, emergency room visits, respiratory symptoms, and restricted activity days. These adverse health effects have been reported primarily in infants, children, and older adults with preexisting heart or lung diseases. In addition, of all the common air pollutants, PM2.5 is associated with the greatest proportion of adverse health effects related to air pollution.

Metro Manila’s rating puts it at 1,692 out of 7,323 cities surveyed. Despite the high number, it’s actually an improvement compared to 2021’s 15.7 µg/m3 and 2019’s 18.2 µg/m3. Amidst pandemic-related lockdowns, air quality improved in 2020 to 13.1 µg/m3.

Other Philippine cities cited in the report are:
  • Balanga, Pampanga – 8.7 µg/m3
  • Batangas City, Batangas – 14.6 µg/m3
  • Davao City, Davao – 13.9 µg/m3
  • Makati City – 14.7 µg/m3
  • Mandaluyong City – 19.4 µg/m3
  • Marikina City – 14.2 µg/m3
  • Olongapo, Pampanga – 13.7 µg/m3
  • Rizal – 15.8 µg/m3
  • Silang, Cavite – 14.6 µg/m3
  • Taguig City – 15.8 µg/m3
Alarmingly, only 13 countries pass the WHO’s recommended PM2.5 guidelines: Finland, Estonia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Australia, Grenade, New Caledonia, Iceland, Bonaire, Sint Eusatius and Saba, Bermuda, US Virgin Islands, French Polynesia and Guam.

The Philippines ranks 69 out of 131 countries surveyed with a 14.9 µg/m3—an improvement over 2021’s 15.6 µg/m3 reading.

Compared to other countries in ASEAN, the Philippines is behind Cambodia (104th most polluted) and Singapore (77th most polluted). Malaysia is in fourth (59th most polluted). Thailand (57), Myanmar (35), Vietnam (30), Laos (29), and Indonesia (26).

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