By Bernadette E. Tamayo | The Manila Times
FORMER senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. wants to improve air quality in the country as part of his program to fight pollution.
The presidential aspirant believes that a pollution-free country will help boost the economy, particularly the health care and labor sectors.
"It is important that the environment where we live is clean and safe," Marcos said on Monday. "That is why it is important to protect the quality of air and to address the air pollution problem in the country because it is connected to our economy."
The Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities report that air pollution costs the Philippines P4.5 trillion a year.
The same report said that about 66,000 premature deaths from non-communicable diseases and lower respiratory infections each year are directly linked to pollution.
It added that the air quality in the Philippines is equivalent to smoking at least one cigarette a day.
The standard-bearer of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas said air pollution has a big effect on the economy and the daily lives of Filipinos.
"So, it should just be addressed as soon as possible (That's why it is necessary to address this as soon as possible)," Marcos said.
He made the call even as representatives from nearly 200 countries gathered in Glasgow for talks aimed at keeping the world within the Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius.
The Earth's surface has warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels so far, magnifying weather extremes across the planet. The world is on track to surge beyond the Paris Agreement target of limiting heating to between 1.5C and 2C.
Even with the new round of carbon-cutting pledges this year, Earth's surface will still warm a "catastrophic" 2.7C, the United Nations calculated.
Isabella Suarez, a CREA analyst, said the detrimental health effects snowball into 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 to pollution, 98 percent or P4.43 trillion is lost to premature deaths that result in lost livelihoods and economic productivity.
"We need to end the pollution problem for the sake of the next generations and they will have access to safe and safe air. So, we will focus on this (we have to end the pollution problem for the sake of the next generations)," Marcos said.