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  • Moving Out Of The Metro For Cleaner Air? Here’s The Least And Most Polluted PH Cities

    This is according to the World Air Quality Report of 2020.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
Moving Out Of The Metro For Cleaner Air? Here’s The Least And Most Polluted PH Cities
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  • If you're one of those thinking about moving their families out of Metro Manila, your major consideration may be air pollution. Did you know that there's actually a list of the most and least polluted cities in the world, including the major ones in the Philippines?

    From 2018 to 2020, for instance, the city of Calamba in Laguna topped the list of the least polluted regional cities in Southeast Asia. This is according to the World Air Quality Report put together by IQAir, a Swiss air quality technology company.

    Major sources of air pollution

    The report is based on the world's database of ground-based air pollution measurements of fine particulate matter called PM2.5. It is considered “the pollutant with the most health impact of all commonly measured air pollutants” because it can penetrate deep into the lungs when directly inhaled.

    These particles can be so small and fine that a single hair from your head is 30 times larger than the largest fine particle, says the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

    Sources of PM2.5 include pollutants that are emitted from power plants, industries, and automobiles. Some are emitted directly from construction sites and unpaved roads. Other sources are diesel vehicles, forest fires, crop burning, and cooking with wood, dung or charcoal.

    Least and most polluted countries

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has set the annual average exposure to PM2.5 to below 10 μg/m³ in the hopes of minimizing risks of air pollution. The lower the average of the city, the cleaner the air in the area.


    Puerto Rico got a rating of 3.7 in the 2020 World Air Quality Report, making it the least polluted country. On the other hand, Bangladesh is the most polluted with a rating of 77.1.

    The Philipppines took the 70th spot with a rating of 12.8, which is considered moderate by the United States Air Quality Index (USAQI). It means that sensitive individuals should avoid outdoor activity as they may experience respiratory symptoms.

    Singapore is just slightly ahead of us at number 73 with a rating of 11.8 that puts them with a good USAQI assessment and makes them the leader in the Southeast Asian region.

    Least and most polluted cities in the Philippines

    Compared to the other world capital cities, Metro Manila wasn't that bad at number 62 with a rating of 13.1 to make it to the moderate category of USAQI. It's just a bit behind Taiwan at number 64 with a rating of 12.6, and Singapore at number 66 with a rating of 11.8.

    But among the regional cities in Southeast Asia, the Philippine city of Calamba topped the list of the least polluted with a rating of 5.7. It's well within the WHO standard. Next on the list is Pelangkaraya in Indonesia, and the rest of the Top 15 are all found in Malaysia.

    Back in 2018, 10 other Philippine cities joined Calamba (9.3) in the list. They were:

    • Valenzuela (9.9)
    • Carmona (10.9)
    • Parañaque (12.2)
    • Davao (12.5)
    • Makati (13.7)
    • Manila (14.3)
    • Mandaluyong (14.5)
    • Balanga (16.1)
    • Quezon City (17.5)
    • Las Piñas (17.9)
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    The following year, 2019, only 3 other Philippine cities joined Calamba (4.0). They were:

    • Carmona (9.1)
    • Legazpi (11.3)
    • Balanga (11.4)

    In 2020, here's the standing of five areas and cities in the Philippines, from the least to the most polluted:

    • Calamba (5.7)
    • Metro Manila (13.1)
    • Cavite City (19.6)
    • Bulacan (21.6)
    • Meycauayan (27.4)
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