PAGASA says fog in Metro Manila normal; DOH advises masking in smoggy areas

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 10) — While the state weather bureau said the fog that has been hovering over Metro Manila recently is normal, the Health department advised the public to wear masks in smoggy areas due to various air contaminants.

In an interview over the weekend, Department of Health Secretary Ted Herbosa said smog, a mix of smoke and fog, contains a combination of various pollutants in the air that could cause damage to the lungs.

“So ang protection diyan kung mataas ang smog, dust and particles, mag-mask,” Herbosa said. "Kung maghihintay ka diyan sa EDSA, binubugahan ka ng mga usok, ay mag-mask kayo. Mag-mask in areas na mataas ang [smog]."

[Translation: If the level of smog, dust and particles, is high, the protection is wearing a mask. If you're going to wait there on EDSA, fumes are blowing at you, wear a mask. Mask in areas with thick smog.]

Parts of Metro Manila were covered with what seems to be smog over the last few days, with some netizens even calling the haze a “sea of smog.”

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the phenomenon is normal and is just an effect of thermal inversion — which happens when cool air, usually found in higher altitudes, remains nearer the surface of the earth than warm air.

PAGASA weather specialist Veronica Torres said fog forms when a cool air mass is trapped underneath a warm air mass.

“Ito naman po ay normal naman po siya na nangyayari. ‘Di naman po tayo dapat masyado mabahala. Pero dapat mag-ingat pa rin tayo kasi pag may mga fog, narereduce yung visibility po natin,” Torres said in a separate interview.

[Translation: This is a normal occurence. We shouldn't worry too much. But we should still be careful because when there is fog, our visibility is reduced.]

With reports from CNN Philippines’ correspondent EJ Gomez.