Haze scare dismissed

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Haze scare dismissed

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No wonder no one noticed it. The haze from Indonesia’s forest fires never reached Bohol, not even Cebu, contrary to earlier reports.

The recent update from the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources debunked statement from Leonardo Samar of the local PAGASA office that the haze reached Bohol.

Samar explained that the haze from the wide forest fire have spread to the neighboring Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines.

Also because of the southwest monsoon, the direction of the haze from Indonesia is towards the Philippines, he said

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The haze is usually noticed in early morning and from the afternoon until the evening, according to Samar.

Authorities still had to assess when the haze would dissipate, depending on the looming northeast monsoon, according to Samar.

Canda also expressed earlier that the haze from Indonesia could reach Bohol, considering that it had been reported to have reached Cebu already and had passed the neighboring Asian countries such as Malaysia and Thailand.

Canda disclosed that some towns in Bohol, especially those in the mountainous areas already noticed manifestations of the haze.

However, this still has to be verified by the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR through a thorough set of tests.

Canda also explained that the smoke noticed in the upland towns could be just a result of the hot season that is suddenly interrupted by rains.

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However, all this have been debunked by the recent finding of the EMB that it was actually local pollution that caused the haze in Cebu.

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The EMB cited “local air pollutants such as vehicle emissions, and factory and construction site smoke”, as reported by the national media.

According to reports, the “EMB compared the pollution levels of air samples from last week (taken from six areas in Cebu) to those from July to September”.

“The six stations the DENR used were in Banilad, Cebu Business Park, Mabolo, Fuente Osmeña, Lahug, and Talisay. In 2012, DENR found that a large part of the total air emissions in Region 7, amounting to 58 percent, were from car exhaust,” according to the GMA News report.

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The haze scare cropped up following reports that the haze from forest fires in Sumatra, Indonesia had reportedly affected Singapore late last month.

The EMB investigated reports on the “thin blanket of haze” observed in Cebu, and why only in Cebu.

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Initially, it was theorized that the southwest monsoon blew the haze from the neighboring Asian countries affected by Indonesia’s wildfires and onwards to some parts of the Philippines.

While western Visayas is more at the vantage point to the countries affected by the haze, experts wondered why the presence of haze skipped the provinces in western Visayas when it is given that, geographically, it should pass through western Visayas first on its way to Cebu.

Further study concluded that the haze noticed in Cebu just came from local pollutants.

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