There are more cars that fail smoke belching test in Baguio
by Harley Palangchao
City Mayor Mauricio Domogan described as “alarming” the poor passing rate of vehicles subjected to smoke belching test with over 3,700 vehicles failing the test during a one-year period.
Records submitted by the city’s Roadside Inspection, Testing and Monitoring Team’s (RITMT) show that only 1,960 out of the 5,722 motor vehicles inspected passed the smoke belching test from July 2010 to June this year.
This means that there were 3,762 vehicles traversing Baguio that failed the test, which represent 65 percent non-compliance rate with the Clean Air Act.
“This figure is alarming. I therefore appeal to all motor vehicle owners to be considerate enough and comply with the Clean Air Act,” said Domogan, as he reminded motor vehicle owners and drivers to be considerate to the health of the public, especially children.
Every now and then, RITMT installs the testing machine along city roads where passing vehicles are flagged down once black smoke is noticed from their exhaust. Apprehensions and testing shall be done on flat terrain, it was emphasized, not on uphill drives.
Accordingly, the anti-smoke belching campaign shall go on continuously, to effectively clear the city’s air.
The poor passing rate, however, is not reflective of the whole air quality of Baguio as the Environment Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has time and again reported that the air quality of Baguio is good to fair.
Concerned quarters are closely monitoring the city’s effort to improve the air quality of Baguio being an environment issue and also, a health concern.
The Department of Health has reported that cars using diesel fuel emit toxic substances, which when inhaled for prolonged period of time at high concentration could be detrimental to the health.
In United States, studies show that fine particles from diesel shorten the lives of nearly 21,000 people each year in America plus almost 3,000 early deaths from lung cancer.
The studies also showed that US government health expenditure in 2010 was pegged at US$139 billion due to premature deaths and health damages caused by diesel fine particles.
The World Bank report noted that health costs due to exposure to particulate matters in Davao, Metro Manila, Cebu and Baguio reached about $430 million in 2002. – Harley F. Palangchao