Business Mirror : BBM makes pollution-free PHL key plank of economic program

16 November 2021

By Business Mirror

IMPROVING air quality in the country is key to seeing a pollution-free country – one that in turn will help boost the economy, particularly the health care and labor system, according to former senator and presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.

Marcos, standard-bearer of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), vowed to make this part of his program, amid reports by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities that air pollution is costing the Philippines an estimated P4.5 trillion a year in productivity and economic loss and additional health care burdens.

“it is important to keep clean and safe the places we live, breathe and move in, so it is crucial that we ensure good air quality by fighting air pollution because this is connected to ensuring economic health,” he said, mostly in Filipino, in a statement on Tuesday.

The report said about 66,000 premature deaths from non-communicable diseases and lower respiratory infections each year are directly linked to pollution.

It added that the current air quality in the country is equivalent to smoking at least one cigarette a day.

“We are spending a lot because of the problem of pollution, This has a big impact on our economy and day-to-day life, and this is why it’s important to respond to this problem right away,” Marcos noted.

He made the bold call even as representatives from nearly 200 countries gathered in Glasgow for painstaking talks aimed at keeping the world within the Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius.

Earth’s surface has warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels so far, magnifying weather extremes across the planet.

And the world is on track to surge beyond the Paris Agreement target of limiting heating to between 1.5C and 2C.

Even considering a new round of carbon-cutting pledges this year, Earth’s surface will still warm a “catastrophic” 2.7C, the United Nations has calculated.

Isabella Suarez, a CREA analyst, was quoted saying the detrimental health effects spell huge economic costs that affect the health care and labor system.

“Neglecting air pollution comes with a heavy bill in the form of increased health-care and welfare costs as well as loss of labor and economic productivity,” Suarez said.

The study also showed that of the P4.5-trillion annual cost of pollution, 98 percent or P4.43 trillion is lost to premature deaths that result in lost livelihoods and economic productivity.