Pollution has been a perpetual issue that Filipinos have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. This is caused by the sheer number of vehicles – private and public (such as jeeps, buses, tricycles, etc.) – in the country. In Metro Manila alone, there are 2.3 million registered cars. Imagine what that number would be if the unregistered cars were included.
If you’ve passed Makati-EDSA during morning rush hours, you can see the smog covering the skylines of Makati and some of Bonifacio Global City. The amount of exhaust can cause negative effects on the lungs such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. In any case, you’ll have to buy medicine for cough and cold when either one happens. To prevent those illnesses from befalling you, here are ideas on how to protect your lungs from pollution.
Tip #1: Use a handkerchief or face mask
According to an article from healthline.com, covering your mouth and nose with a handkerchief or facemask prevents you from directly exhaust spewed from the tailpipes of vehicles. It may look silly, but at least it keeps your lungs from harm’s way.
Tip #2: Limit your trips outside the house
Another means of protection are the four walls of your house. Staying indoors definitely helps. Or if you have to, select the hours in which you are outdoors. In the Philippines the best downtimes for vehicles on the road are 9 am – 12 pm (the morning rush is finished; people are usually in school/the office already), 2 pm to 5 pm (people are done with their lunch break and are already in/on the way back to the office, or 9 pm – 12 am (the evening rush hour has passed; roads are much clearer).
Tip #3: Avoid pollution-heavy areas
If you’re commuting, be sure to stay away from areas where belching is prominent. Usually, sides of the road where buses and jeeps stop to drop/pickup passengers are notorious for expelling carbon monoxide from their exhaust, and tricycle stands.
If it can’t be avoided, for example, and you have to wait, refer to tip 1 and use a handkerchief/face mask to cover your mouth and nose.
Tip #4: Drive a car
Just like staying at home, driving a car protects your lungs. Only this time, you can actually go out without pollution touching you. Don’t worry, most cars have filtration systems, so even when passing through smog, you’re protected. You can even enjoy the aircon while this happens. Although, you might want to turn off the aircon when passing through pollution-heavy areas just in case.
Tip #5: Carpool
Similar to tip #4, but it’s either you use your car or all hop in a friend’s car. The added benefit of carpooling is reduced carbon footprints. This not only protects your lungs, but everyone else’s!