Quezon City – Representatives from more than 30 non-government organizations and grassroots groups pledge support for clean air and to boost their on-going initiatives in support of a healthy and toxic-free environment.
“It is the right of everyone to breathe clean air. However, the quality of our air is continuously degrading due to pollution and the proliferation of dirty facilities. The public must be made aware of the quality of our air especially the toxins that they might be inhaling,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition.
The skillshare spearheaded by EcoWaste Coalition and Philippine Pollution Monitor aims to introduce the participants to the concepts of participatory environmental monitoring and encourage the establishment of air pollution monitoring systems in different communities in the country.
During the event, members of the coalition also wore headdresses with question marks to demonstrate the public’s right to know the kinds of pollutants that might be present in the air that they inhale.
“This skillshare is very timely. The impacts of air pollution are being felt all over the world and it is about time we address this global killer,” said Lucero.
In a recent report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), it was found that more than 7 million people died, or one out of eight of total global deaths, as a result of air pollution exposure. This prompted WHO to declare air pollution as the “world’s largest single environmental health risk”!
“Poor communities often times suffer most the brunt of air pollution since they are more exposed to polluting facilities and they have limited access to information or proper health care. That is why communities should take part in monitoring pollution within their area to ensure that their health and welfare are being protected,” said Shweta Narayan of India Community Environmental Monitoring.
“It is the right of the residents to know what is in the air that they are breathing. Unfortunately the government does not give them this information. Monitoring pollution will help communities gather the necessary data that can be used to upgrade their activities towards clean air or even compel public institutions to do their job in safeguarding the interest of the people,” said Narayan.
The participants of the skillshare came from different communities and groups working on public health, environment and climate justice issues.