Manila air quality map

Live air pollution map of Manila

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Unhealthy for sensitive groups
Very unhealthy

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*IQAir’s AQI data modeled using satellite data. Learn more

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What information can be seen on the air pollution map for Manila?

The air pollution map for Manila can be found on the main or city page for Manila. By selecting the map option, a new page will open which is dedicated to the current air quality in Manila and its surroundings.

When first opened the viewer will see an overall greenish/yellow colour as a background to the map. This colour is an indication of the air quality at present. The meaning of the various colours is explained in the legend at the bottom of the map. The colours range from pale green to dark maroon. The darker the colour, the worse the air quality. There are many coloured discs that look as though they are over Manila but in fact, the data regarding air quality in Manila comes from overhead satellites as there are no ground-level monitoring stations in the city. There are no definite boundaries though as to where Manila finishes and another city starts as they appear to be one large megalopolis.

The discs bear the colours as described below and also a number. This number is the US AQI reading which is calculated by measuring the levels of up to six of the most prolific pollutants. It is endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is used as a set of metrics when comparing air quality in cities across the globe. In June 2022, Manila was experiencing a period of “Moderate” air quality with a US AQI reading of 78. The main pollutant was PM2.5 with a level of 25.2 µg/m³. This is currently five times higher than the recommended level of 5 µg/m³ which is a target figure set by the WHO, although no amount of air pollution should be considered safe.

Directly beneath the Manila air pollution map can be seen a brief weather forecast which gives the temperature, humidity, wind speed and air pressure. And after that is the AQI forecast which shows the predicted levels of pollution over the next few days. This information can be very useful if you are considering travelling over the next few days.

Some brief advice is given when the air quality is “Moderate” such as closing doors and windows to prevent more dirty air from entering the room. Those of a sensitive disposition should reduce their exposure to outdoor activities until the conditions improve.

What other information can be gathered from the air quality map for Manila?

Looking at the left-hand side of the screen can be seen four options which can be deactivated if required. The first one shows the position of the individual air monitors which provide data for the calculations. They are very close to Manila but not directly above the metropolis itself. If any of the discs are selected, then a new page will open which is dedicated to that particular area of the city. The second button reveals the position of any fires which are burning in the vicinity. When used with the fourth option which is wind direction, it will give a good indication if the ensuing smoke will affect the city.

The third choice shows the overall air quality and it changes the entire colour of the background of the map. It can be turned off to show more natural colours on the map which may make it easier to understand.

On the other side of the screen can be seen a table which shows world cities ranked by the severity of their air. There is an option on the table to see the entire list of the world’s worst polluted cities. This can be interesting when compared with your home city.

Looking at the air pollution map for Manila, can the areas of poor air quality be identified?

When the air pollution map for Manila is opened, the viewer will notice the coloured discs, by looking for the disc with the highest number will reveal the area with the worst quality air.

In a very large city such as Manila, it should come as no surprise that most of the air pollution comes from the vehicles using its road network. Many of the vehicles are very old and therefore lack the modern technology built into modern cars. The same goes for its motorcycles and motorised rickshaws and Jeepneys. It is estimated that air pollution affects 98 per cent of the population and is thought to be responsible for 4,000 known deaths per year.

A good example of this is during the lockdown of 2020 to try to prevent the spread of COVID 19, many vehicles were stopped from being used and many factories were told to suspend business until later. As a result, the air above the city could be seen to be much clearer and the range of mountains behind the city was seen from the city for the first time in decades. This alone should be an encouragement for the government to tighten their regulations on air pollution as it shows what can be achieved.

We often see PM2.5 on the air pollution map for Manila, but what is it?

In every cubic centimetre of urban air, there are thousands of small particles. The particles come from several sources, both anthropogenic and natural.

Two common measurements of particles found in urban air are PM2.5 and PM10. Simplified, these measurements give the mass of particles in the air that are less than 2.5 and 10 micrometres (µm) in diameter, respectively.

When these particles are inhaled, they can reach down into the respiratory tract and cause adverse health effects in both the short and long term.

Particles occur at several different sources. Some of these are anthropogenic such as wood burning and tyre and brake wear and others are natural such as sea waves and desert dust.

The larger particles (PM10) are mainly formed via wear and make up the largest mass of particles in the air. The smaller particles (PM2.5) come mainly from various combustion and industrial processes.

The source affects not only the size of the particles but also their composition. For example, the wear particles from the road surface can consist to a large extent of various minerals, while the combustion particles from garbage burning consist mainly of carbon compounds.

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