The thriving local automobile industry is forcing the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to more strictly monitor and assess air quality in the country, particularly in Metro Manila.

DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said a more stringent air quality monitoring is necessary amid record-high car sales in recent years given the potential of motor vehicles to contribute to ambient air pollution.

“The increase in purchasing vehicles is one of the reasons why we have to become stricter in monitoring the air quality and the smoke emissions,” Paje said, in a speech read by Environmental Management Bureau Assistant Director Eva Ocfemia during the Clean Air Forum held Tuesday at the DENR’s social hall in Quezon City.

In 2015, the Philippine automotive industry posted total vehicle sales of 323,928 units, the highest ever in cumulative local sales surpassing the previous record from 2014 at 269,841.

Paje noted that 70 to 80 percent of air pollution in Metro Manila still comes from vehicle emissions.

He said the DENR, through its Environmental Management Bureau, had successfully installed air quality monitoring stations in each of the 17 local government units in Metro Manila.

“These monitoring stations broadcast real time values of ambient air quality over the National Capital Region. The values from the monitoring stations are reported in comparison with the national air quality guidelines for health,” Paje said. #