While many areas are still under enhanced and general community quarantine, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) was directed to intensify and strictly implement anti-smoke belching initiatives as part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) thrust to ensure public health.
“We must ensure that all vehicles on the road comply with our country’s emission standard,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said in an online meeting with the Department’s Road Sector over the week.
Tugade issued the directive to the LTO while the country continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that emissions from vehicle sources greatly contribute to air pollution, especially in urbanized areas of the country.
Air pollution is one of the major causes of respiratory problems and other ailments, according to health experts.
“Persons with existing health problems, and therefore, with weak immune system, have a higher risk of contracting and difficulty in overcoming COVID-19,” the department stressed.
The DOTr cited a recent study released by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Institute of Environmental Science & Meteorology at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, and Airtoday.ph, showing that air quality in Metro Manila has improved significantly with the continued implementation of the enhanced community quarantine.
The Department added that majority of the air pollution in areas observed in the study came from vehicle emissions.
“Sayang naman ang pagbuti ng air quality, lalo na dito sa Metro Manila ngayong may ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), kung babalik lang din sa dati. Our skyline is now smog-free and very beautiful. Napakagandang pagmasdan. Kaya nararapat lamang na maging bahagi ang magandang kalidad ng hangin ng ating ‘new normal’,” Tugade pointed out. (Alexandria San Juan)