Information reportedly came from ‘fake’ site
Negros Occidental Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office head, Dr. Zeaphard Caelian, yesterday clarified the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) did not issue a haze alert for the Western Visayas. The provincial official said the information pertaining to the advisory originated from a “fake” PAGASA account, which quickly went viral.
Caelian said they are currently waiting for the official advisory from the relevant government agencies. He also confirmed the Environmental and Management Bureau (EMB) is conducting an assessment and will soon release their results, along with PAGASA’s official advisory to the Office of Civil Defense-Western Visayas.
“We [were] all being blundered (sic) by this ‘fake’ site claiming to be PAGASA,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a radio interview with Bombo Radyo-Bacolod, EMB-6 director, Atty. Ramar Neil Pascua, said they have monitored an increase in fine particulate matter in their PM10 air quality monitoring station in Bacolod City. According to last Tuesday’s monitoring, they have recorded an increase of fine particulate matter from 13 to 150 micrograms per normal cubic meter.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), particulate matter refers to certain tiny particle comprised of various acids, soil, dust, among other materials that may contribute to health problems.
“Those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs,” the EPA said on their website. “Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs, and cause serious health effects.”
However, Pascua said the measurement is still in “normal range,” adding, they cannot yet identify what types of pollutants are being collected.
He also pointed out that it is possible haze has reached Negros Occidental since Cebu is already affected.
The EMB official advised the public to wear face masks in order to avoid inhaling the pollutants./DGB, WDJ