Air quality monitoring station eyed in Boracay

By Catherine Teves

March 4, 2018, 2:27 pm

MANILA -- The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is planning to install an air quality monitoring station in Boracay Island next year.

This is to intensify government's efforts to clean up and stop further environmental degradation in the country's famed tourist spot, EMB officer-in-charge and air quality chief Jerry Capulong told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

"Boracay's air quality is still good, since the island has few sources of air pollution at present," Capulong noted.

He said the planned monitoring would help detect changes in Boracay's air quality, so the EMB or DENR could address the matter fast.

He said the station would monitor the daily level of gases and other pollutants in Boracay's air, so the EMB could act accordingly if these exceed tolerable limits.

Encroachment in public land and water pollution from the release of untreated discharges are Boracay's top environmental problems
at present, Capulong noted.

Among the limited sources of air pollution there, he said, are the establishments' stand-by generators, which are not used often.

Capulong said last month, the EMB temporarily installed in Boracay Island high-volume samplers for gathering information on air quality, one each in the villages of Yapak, Balabag, and Manoc-manoc.

These villages are in Boracay's northern, central, and southern parts.

Capulong said the EMB had begun analyzing information the samplers had gathered, eventually enabling the bureau to establish baseline data on air quality in Boracay.

He added that the EMB could then compare these data and its future monitoring results to check for changes in Boracay's air quality.

Earlier, the DENR said 716 of Boracay's 834 wastewater-discharging establishments do not have discharge permits and are presumed to be illegally discharging respective wastewater into the sea.

The DENR has also reported serving since last month over 50 notices of violation to establishments found polluting Boracay.

The establishments have two months to either connect to Boracay Island Water Company's sewage treatment plant or install their own wastewater treatment facilities, so these can stop directly releasing untreated discharges into the environment, the DENR added.

President Rodrigo Duterte has given the DENR and the Department of the Interior and Local Government six months to clean up Boracay. (PNA)