Haze has been covering Cebu for more than a week. Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Mactan Station chief Al Quiblat has received reports from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) that the haze has been causing difficulty for pilots to land their planes in Cebu.
CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss told Sun.Star in a text message, “Because of hazy weather conditions in Mactan since Sunday, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) has been suspended. This means only airline operations using airplanes with instrument flying capabilities are allowed to take off and land in Mactan. Small airplanes without instrument flying capabilities will not be allowed to take off and land.” Despite that, there have been no cancellation or suspension of flights due to the haze.
Where Is It Coming From?
The haze has been covering Cebu for a week but the source remains unidentified. PAG-ASA suspects that it came from the forest fires of Sumatra, Indonesia last month which has caused haze over the countries of Singapore and Malaysia. However, in a GMA News report, the network’s resident metereologist Nathaniel "Mang Tani" Cruz said that if that were the case, there should be haze over “Palawan [or] Zamboanga, [or even] Negros [or] Panay” but there have been no reports of such.
In an interview with GMA Network, Dr. Gerry Bagtasa, atmospheric scientist has a theory that it may be a mix of the haze from Indonesia’s wildfire and the pollution from the metropolis created by the Tropical Storm Mujigae or known locally as “Kabayan.” The storm created a path for the haze to reach the country. It now covers most parts of the Philippines but is too thin to be seen except in Cebu where it mixed with pollution, causing the haze.
How Does It Affect Us?
Good news is Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Visayas spokesperson Dr. Eddie Llamedo assures the public that air quality is still between fair and good, “[which] means we still have clean and healthy air.” Though the theory shared by Dr. Gerry Bagtasa is as of now just that - a theory - and remains to be verified, this serves as a wake-up call to be more aware of how we’ve contributed to the metro’s air pollution.
Think hard if you really need to use the car. Choosing to walk would be good exercise. See a vehicle smoke-belching? Report it. Dispose of your trash properly instead of burning it. We all have a hand in how Cebu turns out. Let’s take good care of the place we call home.