Haze in parts of the Philippines: 9 ways to stay healthy
MANILA, Philippines – It has been hazy for Metro Manila and parts of the Visayas and Mindanao since last week, with Mindanao's haze caused by Indonesian forest fires.
According to Dr Gerry Bagtasa, a professor at the University of the Philippines' Institute of Environmental Science & Meteorology, the haze in Metro Manila – observed since Friday, October 23 – is caused by the stagnant air over the metropolis and its surrounding areas.
On Tuesday, October 27, PAGASA officer in charge Landrico Dalida Jr said moderate haze is present over the Zamboanga Peninsula, light haze over Metro Manila, and light haze to clear atmosphere over the rest of the country.
The state weather bureau defines haze as particles of fine dust suspended in the air that produce limited visibility. Exposure to haze has implications on one's health.
Citing recent studies, the ASEAN Haze Action Online said exposure to particulate pollution has also been linked with premature death, difficult breathing, aggravated asthma, increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits, and increased respiratory symptoms in children.
Children, the elderly, and people with chronic respiratory problems are those particularly at risk.
According to the World Health Organization, the 1997 haze – widely regarded as the most serious on record – "adversely affected the health of populations in Indonesia and neighbouring countries, causing an increase in the incidence of bronchial asthma, acute respiratory infection and conjunctivitis."
The haze then spread as far as the Philippines, Singapore, and parts of Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Scientists warn that this year's outbreak is on a trajectory similar to 1997 and could exceed those unprecedented levels.
In its recent health advisory, the Philippines' health department listed 9 ways to cope with the haze affecting parts of the country. Download and share this infographic as a reminder.
– with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com
Infographic by Nico Villarete