Yesterday I saw on the internet 1978 photos of Plaza Miranda and, across from the Quiapo Church, the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, is the iconic Mercury Drug branch, now a 57-year old structure as old as I am.
The area is a personal favorite and an important part of my life being a longtime devotee of Mahal Na Poong Nazareno.
But what struck me in one of the nostalgic pictures is the air monitoring apparatus that stood in front of the Mercury Drug store near the foot of the Quezon Bridge.
The robust black steel structure indicates in big bold digits the “air pollution index” and exact time of day.
Understandably, the air quality monitor was a device that measured the level of common air pollutants in the area which effectively served as a visual reminder of the importance of clean air.
Students at high schools nearby were assigned to report on the air pollution index as indicated on the said digital device in their Science class daily.
I remember the same air quality monitors were erected in other locations including EDSA.
I do not know why they removed such digital devices in key locations in Metro Manila which did not obstruct vehicular traffic anyway.
Although such information on air quality in different localities may now be available online, we must promote awareness about clean air and effects of climate change in every way we can.
Climate change should be everyone’s concern as its repercussions will increasingly impact the lives of future generations.
The country’s resiliency and adaptation to climate change is a national priority, President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos, Jr. (PBBM) has said repeatedly.
PBBM said combating climate change is a “battle we must wage and a battle that we must win.”
“We must ensure that the initiatives we will take will be smarter, more responsible, and more sustainable,” PBBM added.
When he spoke before the UN General Assembly, he made the urgent call on industrialized countries “to lead by example by immediately fulfilling their obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, and providing climate financing and technology transfer for adaptation for the most vulnerable and developing countries.”
He strongly delivered the same message during last week’s 40th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
While we build resilience against impacts of climate change, we should ensure that the country’s emissions of greenhouse gases (methane and carbon dioxide) are strictly checked.
The Philippines’ greenhouse gas emissions rank in the top 25 percent among low-and middle-income countries, with emissions from the energy sector projected to quadruple by 2030, particularly with the transport sector doubling its emissions.
Meanwhile, super typhoons and dry spells have alternately hit various regions of the country, causing massive losses to the agricultural sector.
A study on climate change by the international Climate Central shows that regions where some 150 million people currently live are projected to submerge by 2050, including the Philippines.
That means people living along the coastlines of the country’s 7,641 islands will be affected, including top tourist destination Boracay island.
Apart from global warming and climate change, the country is beset by illegal mining and logging, deforestation, threats to environmental activists, dynamite fishing, landslides, coastal erosion, and biodiversity extinction.
The country’s rich biodiversity is constantly under threat from human activities, including deforestation and forest degradation, illegal fishing and illicit wildlife trade.
The keyword in what President BBM said about climate change is “sustainability” which means we should conserve and protect the environment from destruction so that natural resources will be available to us in the years to come.
Let us stop “killing ourselves.” Instead we must do everything to mitigate the effects of climate change for the sake of our children.