The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines, in collaboration with the Technical Working Group (TWG), established the Breakpoints for PM2.5 Air Quality Index (AQI) in November 2020. This process was carried out in accordance with the following laws and regulations
- Republic Act (RA) No. 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999
- Section 2 of DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2000-81 or the Review of Air Quality Guideline Values
This amendment to the AQI is approved as DAO No. 2020-14 or Establishing the Breakpoints for Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5) Air Quality Index (AQI) and Amending Section 5(a) of DAO 2013-13 “Establishing the Provisional National Ambient Air Quality Guideline Values for Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5).” Referring to the newly established Breakpoints, EMB Director William P. Cunado commented, “There is a need to improve the current AQI guidelines especially in this time of the new normal. Air quality and its impact on the environment and human health are of particular importance during these times. It is in this context that the new Breakpoints have been established.”
The Breakpoints established this time for PM2.5 and cautionary statements for citizens in each category are as follows.
- Good (Green) (0-25): No cautionary statements
- Fair (Yellow) (25.1-35.0): No cautionary statements
- Unhealthy for sensitive groups (Orange) (35.1-45.0): People with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit outdoor exertion.
- Very unhealthy (Red) (45.1-55): Pedestrians should avoid heavy traffic areas. People with heart or respiratory disease, such as asthma, should stay indoors and rest as much as possible. Unnecessary trips should be postponed. People should voluntarily restrict the use of vehicles.
- Acutely unhealthy (Purple) (55.1-90): People should limit outdoor exertion. People with heart or respiratory disease, such as asthma, should stay indoors and rest as much as possible. Unnecessary trips should be postponed. Motor vehicle use may be restricted. Industrial activities may be curtailed.
- Emergency (Maroon) (Above 91): Everyone should remain indoors, (keeping windows and doors closed unless heat stress is possible). Motor vehicle use should be prohibited except for emergency situations. Industrial activities, except that which is vital for public safety and health, should be curtailed.
The TWG of EMB is composed of representatives from various agencies including EMB Air Quality Management Section, University of the Philippines Institute of Environmental Science & Meteorology, Department of Health, World Health Organization, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Department of Public Works and Highways, and the Department of Transportation.
The original text of DAO No. 2020-14 can be downloaded from the following URL.