Another knockout by Pacman…air pollution

Air pollution is a perennial problem in most large cities like Metro Manila, though it can harm us a lot, its an atmospheric problem not given priority unlike rain producing events.  Air pollution is difficult to manage and also very difficult and expensive to measure.

Using tiny lasers, we can measure the number of particulates in the air at a fraction of the usual costs, particulates are very small particles suspended in air and is usually used as a measure of air pollution.  Though the measurements I do in UP Diliman are not as accurate as the multi-million peso equipment used by the government for regulatory purposes, it can give us a good idea on the concentration of these pollutants.

Contrary to what most people might think, air pollution is generally worse during nighttime, this is because of the suppression of vertical wind that can carry pollutants away from the surface. Due to this suppression, pollutants accumulate until early hours of the following day (that’s when we see that early morning haze).  Soon after, when air starts to heat up because of the daytime sun, air pollution disperses away from us.

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Its been known that crimes rates and traffic in Metro Manila drops significantly during Sunday Pacquiao fights, and since traffic is a major pollutant source, it would make sense that the amount of pollution will be reduced as well, and in fact yesterday it did!

pacman air effect1

compared to 2 other Sunday measurements (Oct 26 and Nov 9), which can be already considered as clean days, yesterday’s was still cleaner.  Compared to a weekday, I looked for a day with similar wind pattern as yesterday and found Tuesday of last week (Nov 18) to be very close, but afternoon concentration is obviously different. April 18, this year’s Good Friday, didn’t fair as well either, though I remember there were so many road reblocking that weekend it basically slowed down traffic and didn’t do much on reducing emissions.

Air pollution reduction – we can add this to the list of Pacquiao’s abilities.

gb – 20141124


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