By Jason B. Neola
NAGA CITY --- The air pollution concentration level in the city is still within the standards set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. This, after the Anti-Smoke Belching Unit (ASBU) of the local government unit here found out that a significant number of automobiles passed the random road side vehicle emission testing conducted late last month.
But the Naga City Airshed Governing Board headed by Mayor John G. Bongat wanted to intensify all the measures that the city government is adopting if only to ensure the protection of the environment, especially when it comes to the monitoring of smoke belching vehicles and the imposition of appropriate sanctions on the vehicle owners as provided by law.
The City Environment and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO), however, observed that the massive construction of malls, which draws several hundreds of carbon monoxide-emitting vehicles daily, is one of the main factors that threaten the city’s air quality.
Bongat said that “it is important that the emission levels within the city are kept within the emission standards to protect the health of the people and the environment.”
Based on DENR’s 6 levels of air quality for suspended particulates, which is categorized into Good, Fair, Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, Very Unhealthy, Acutely Unhealthy, and Emergency, Naga’s air quality is so far rated “Good.”
Concern about air quality, according to the City ENRO, will be resolved by staging a massive awareness campaign and education which is going to be conducted thru initiatives that will sustain the implementation of R.A. 8749, otherwise known as the Clean Air Act of 1999.
It is included also in the actions to be taken the regulation and control of smoke belching vehicles plying the city and the decision to encourage active and strong public participation in the prevention, control and reduction of air pollution.
For effective pollution management and control, the following strategies and activities will be implemented:
1. Effective and well-coordinated information, education and communication information and education campaign which will be developed for stakeholders, motorist, operators and drivers of public utility vehicles. The campaign will bring environmental awareness and culture of voluntary compliance with environmental regulations among motorists. By means of an effective IEC, stakeholders will appreciate the way how environmental regulations are being complied.
2. Continuing public information campaign that will be conducted by the ASBU Environmental Enforcers Section. The task will include the promotion of the proper maintenance and operation of vehicles; b) placing of IEC stickers with hotline number on private and public vehicles, inspection of the required standard garbage bins inside public utility vehicles, and the strict implementation of the nationwide smoking ban in public places and to all passenger vehicles.
3. Random Road side Vehicle Emission Testing. This approach is to be undertaken by the City ENRO together with the Public Safety Office Task Force COMET, the Land Transportation Office and the Naga City Police Office. LTO and NCPO personnel will join as deputized members the Anti-Smoke Belching Unit (ASBU), which is composed of 15 to 20 members.
The random roadside inspection will be undertaken on motor vehicles with visible emission. The ASBU will use portable emission test equipment for diesel-powered vehicles.
The entry and exit areas of Concepcion Grande, Mabolo, Peñafrancia and Bagumbayan will be the common monitoring locations selected at random where on-the-spot roadside emission testing of vehicles will be conducted. Specific areas of operations will vary so that fleeing smoke belchers will easily be caught.
“We are going to intensify the implementation of the RA 8749, specifically the provisions that tackles smoke belching, when we resume our operations on the last quarter of 2017,” says Jayson T. Vargas, ASBU team leader.
ASBU personnel have just recently completed their refresher training course for Diesel engine and Motor Engine Mandatory Preventive Maintenance. The training boosted the technical know-hows of the group on diesel motor engine.
The July-August ASBU Operations Report: Total number of vehicles inspected and undergone random smoke belching test was 85; 22 have failed the road side emission testing and 63 passed the road side emission testing.