The Ilocos Region now has three fully-automated air quality monitoring stations (AQMS) that measure gas and particulate pollution continuously and in real time in three strategic locations.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), recently caused the installation of differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) equipment in the third AQMS in the region located at the headquarters of San Fernando City Police Office in La Union province.

This coming Feb. 12, the La Union AQMS will be inaugurated by the DENR-EMB, with DENR Assistant Secretary and concurrent EMB Director Atty. Juan Miguel Cuna, La Union Governor Manuel Ortega, San Fernando City Mayor Pablo Ortega, Police Regional Director Ericson Velasquez and DENR Regional Director Paquito Moreno expected to grace the event.

According to EMB Regional Director Ma. Victoria V. Abrera, the installation of the third DOAS system in Region 1 was by virtue of a memorandum of agreement signed by the regional offices of the DENR and the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the city government of San Fernando.

“This will help strengthen the city’s air quality monitoring, and will further boost EMB’s collaborative anti-air pollution campaign in Northern Luzon,” Abrera said. “By having real-time results, the city can make better plans to address its air pollution situation.”

Abrera said the state-of-the-art DOAS equipment installed in La Union is by far the third air quality monitoring station in the region, measuring six pollution parameters, namely: nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, particulate matter of 10 microns in diameter or PM10, and PM2.5. The first two are located in Barangay Anonas in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan and in Batac, Ilocos Norte but only measure two parameters, PM 10 and PM 2.5,” Abrera said.

The PNP, through its Pulis Kalikasan Patrol, has agreed to support the environmental project by providing space, security service and allowing the EMB to install, construct and operate the station free of charge.

Meanwhile, the city government of San Fernando will assist the environment regional office in the conduct of air quality monitoring, shoulder the power cost of the station, and make use of the air quality monitoring results in the development and implementation of programs relative to the objectives of the EMB clean air program.###