CHO on Indonesian haze:No cause for alarm, folks asked to take precaution PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 23 October 2015 11:12

By JASMINE MOHAMMADSALI

With winds carrying the haze from Indonesia to cities in Southern Mindanao, the City Health Office (CHO) is advising residents to take health precautions to prevent respiratory infections and complications.

City Health Officer Dr. Rodelin Agbulos explained Zamboangueños residing in higher grounds and those with pre-existing respiratory ailments and allergies are particularly vulnerable to the haze, an atmospheric phenomenon where dust, smoke and other dry particles obscure the sky, originating from the forest fires in Indonesia.

He clarified, however, that the air in the City is safe as the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) of Zamboanga remains at normal levels and that there is no cause for alarm.

To avoid and prevent possible respiratory infections, residents living in high grounds and high altitude communities may opt to stay temporarily in lower areas, advised Agbulos. Masks may also be worn as an added precaution against the irritants brought in by the haze, he added.

Agbulos said reports of respiratory infections have come in from communities in high grounds such as Salaan, but the CHO is still determining and verifying if these cases are due to the haze.

Meanwhile, the CHO and the barangay health units remain on alert and on stand-by for advisories and instructions from the Department of Health (DOH).

The CHO is also closely coordinating with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to constantly monitor the pollutant standard index in the City as well as in the communities situated in high ground areas.

The haze is caused by forest fires from the slash-and-burn farming practice in Indonesia. It has affected different countries in the ASEAN region, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Brunei, and the Philippines.

In the Philippines, the smoke has reportedly reached areas in Southern Mindanao such as Davao, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, and other nearby communities. — Jasmine Mohammadsali