Acid rain is the product of the reaction of rain with nitrous oxides and sulfur oxides causing fish kills, dying of trees and erosion of historical stone infrastructures. The film prepared by Dr. Gallardo’s former students for education and awareness campaign focused on the collection and testing of acid rain using the acid rain monitor found on the roof deck of the Science and Technology Research Center of DLSU-Manila. In addition to these, data from other acid rain collectors such as those in Sucat Power Plant or NAPOCOR (South), Valenzuela (North), Sucat, Muntinlupa-Residential (South), Pasig (East) and San Juan (Central) were also shown. These are part of the East Asian Network on Acid Deposition (EANET).
There is also a research on atmospheric corrosion, and another on NOx emission of motor vehicles in Metro Manila, which were both shown in the film.
It was said that motor vehicles are the biggest contributor to NOx in the atmosphere while power plants contribute majority of the SOx emissions.
The data shown points to one fact-that acid rain exists in Metro Manila. As such, authorities had decided to shut down the Manila Thermal Plant. Efforts such as these should be applauded for such efforts prove that the government is, in some way, concerned with the current status of the environment surrounding the Philippines or that of the Metro Manila Airshed in particular.
Nevertheless, the need for energy sources still exists and shutting down the Metro Manila Thermal Plant and the Sucat Power Plant would automatically require other thermal plants in nearby provinces to produce enough energy to be able to supply the energy demanded by the National Capital Region. Hence, shutting down the power plant reduces the incidence of acid rain in Metro Manila, but would, in some way, increase those in nearby provinces for the energy the citizens of the province did not use.
For me, the best way to respond to this problem is to use catalysis to transform the flue gas into something less harmful to the atmosphere. Similar to those done in the films “IHI Japan” and the “Chuo Incineration Plant”, catalysts could be placed after the furnace and before the exit point to breakdown harmful products into less harmful, if not totally harmless, ones.
In addition to these, what should be emphasized is the role each one of us could play to help reduce the emissions of NOx which come from land transport vehicles most especially old ones. This could be answered by commuting or carpooling instead of riding a car alone. In this way, instead of using more cars with one person in each, one car can be used for all the persons. Aside from saving from gas expenditures, the emissions are also less since less cars are used. The use of other modes of mass transport such as MRT and LRT could also lessen the amount of air pollution produced.
This would definitely require a lifestyle change in each of us working together for sustainable development for the future generations.
Initiatives such as this research should also be supported not only by the government but also by other people as well for it is through this when people begin to be aware of the environmental situation and find in their hearts the need and calling for them to act for the current and future generations.