Haze reaches Cebu in central Philippines

A bureau official said Cebu residents had been reporting what appeared to be haze in some parts of the city since the start of the week, till Sept 19, 2019.
A bureau official said Cebu residents had been reporting what appeared to be haze in some parts of the city since the start of the week, till Sept 19, 2019.PHOTO: JIM JEFE/TWITTER

MANILA • Haze from raging forest fires in Indonesia has reached Cebu City in the central Philippines.

"Metro Cebu is currently experiencing hazy weather conditions caused by forest fires in Indonesia and enhanced by the (south-west monsoon)," the Environment Management Bureau said in an advisory it posted on Wednesday.

A bureau official said Cebu residents had been reporting what appeared to be haze in some parts of the city since the start of the week, until yesterday.

Cebu, home to more than four million people, is over 2,700km away from southern Sumatra, where there are more than 100 hot spots.

Air quality in the city is now "above safe levels", with the main air pollutant - tiny particulate matter known as PM2.5 - at 56 micrograms per cubic m.

A reading above 50 is considered unsafe.

The reading is not as bad as it was in 2015, when Cebu and large parts of Mindanao Island were blanketed by haze.

Still, environment officials on Wednesday told Cebu residents to stay indoors, and wear N95 masks when they have to go outdoors.

Those with respiratory illnesses were advised to avoid low-lying areas where pollutants were likely to settle.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2019, with the headline 'Haze reaches Cebu in central Philippines'. Print Edition | Subscribe