Air pollution is a common and frequent problem nowadays. When you are on your way to work, you pass by your neighbors’ backyard where he is currently burning garbage from yesterday, then you come across a smoke-belching public utility vehicle, then a guy beside you lights a cigarette and starts suffocating you with second-hand smoke. You cannot always depend on your handkerchief covering your nose and mouth to prevent these air pollutants from entering your lungs. That is why in the Philippines, Local Government Units and Non-local Government Organizations together act to resolve air pollution. We all know about the smoking ban and the anti-smoke belching policies.
But how about the large scale air pollution contributors? These are industries with operations that involve processes that emit hazardous gases such as, but are not limited to, NOx, SOx, COx, and CFCs in high quantity.
The Department of Natural Resources mandated an air pollution policy in 1999 called the Philippine Clean Air Act under RA 8749 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations which obliges industries that emits air pollutants to be responsible in regulating their emissions.
A Permit to Operate should be applied by industries and establishments where the operation involves air pollutant emissions. The permit will require them to submit stack analysis periodically to assure their compliance with the Clean Air Act. Non compliance may cause closure of the operation. The operation is also discussed on the Self Monitoring Report which is submitted to the DENR EMB Regional Offices.
These permits and reports were checked by an EMB Representative during surprise visits. Non availability of these permits and reports during the surprise visits will cause the issuance of notice of violation. Refusal to entertain surprise visits of EMB representatives is another ground for violation. So if you ever come across suffocating situations, literally, you know what to do. We have LGUs to send your complain to. And if you happen to be the antagonist, the polluter that is, you have Triple i to assist you in doing what is right and implementing the proper measures, therewith preventing the headaches brought about by non-compliance.
By: Clementina Cachola – Environmental Specialist