By Angel Castillo
BENGUET province is among the worst in terms of air quality in the Philippines, according to environmental organization Greenpeace.
The Greenpeace report says that over 97 percent of the Benguet population is exposed to some of the highest particulate matter (PM) concentrations in the entirety of the country.
While all Filipinos are exposed to air that fails to meet World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, Benguet province, Rizal, and Metro Manila are the worst in the country.
The WHO considers air of acceptable quality to contain no more than five micrograms of PM per cubic meter of air (5 µg/m3), whereas Benguet, Rizal, and Metro Manila average 25 µg/m3. PM refers to fine inhalable particles.
Greenpeace recommended a phaseout of fossil fuel-based energy projects and investment into non-import based energy sources to address the air quality problem.
“Improving air quality is not only a matter of ensuring health and justice, but also of addressing the climate crisis and eliminating the common denominator — our country’s dependence on dirty energy,” Greenpeace Campaigner Khevin Yu said.
Currently, the Department of Energy (DOE) is targeting a renewable energy share of 30 percent in the country’s energy mix by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040.