Press Release
February 9, 2011


A recent study by the Congressional Commission on Science Technology, and Engineering (COMSTE) links the effects of air pollution and health in the Philippines, noting that lead exposure due to air pollution causes many diseases such as anemia, decreased fertility in females and kidney problems.

Senator Edgardo J. Angara, chairman of COMSTE, noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) identified Manila as the most polluted city in the Philippines. According to a joint World Bank and Asian Development Bank study of air pollution for 20 major Asian cities between 2000 and 2003, Manila is on the 8th spot.

According to the report, Adults that are exposed to a hazardous amount of lead can experience such disorders like anemia, nervous system dysfunction, hypertension, kidney problems, decreased fertility and increased level of miscarriages (in females). Children exposed to low amounts of lead may show symptoms of neurologic damage, including slow development, reduced Intelligence Quotient (IQ) scores, learning disabilities, hearing loss, reduced height and hyperactivity (ADHD). In very high and severe levels, comas, convulsions and even death can occur..

In an epidemiological study done by the College of Public Health in UP-Manila with the support from WHO, Subida and Torres (1991) observed that COPD signs and symptoms are more prevalent among jeepneys drivers (32.5%) than drivers of air-conditioned buses (16.4%) and public passengers (14.8%). In addition, there is an increased risk of abnormal pulmonary function by almost 50% and the risk of COPD by more than double in Manila jeepneys drivers compared to other areas in the Philippines.

Angara said that this study, which indicates that in the Philippines air quality has progressively deteriorated in the last two decades, shows the pressing need to find a solution to the increasing levels of pollution, especially in the transport sector. One such solution is the development of electric and hybrid vehicles, the development of which is one of the priorities of COMSTE.

The electric vehicle initiative is being pushed to address the growing need for more eco-friendly, and sustainable transport. Angara said that the program can lessen the dependence on imported fuel sources and lead the way to creating energy independence while also lessening the carbon footprint of the transport sector.

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