You are on page 1of 2

4. Harmful effects of tail-end exhaust given off by airplanes during takeoff.

Aviation contributes to quality of life allowing us to visit friends and relatives, to travel, to
experience new places, to shrink the world. Aviation must develop if it is to continue to meet the needs
of a growing economy and an expanding population. At the same time, aviation must be
environmentally sustainable, operating harmoniously within the constraints imposed by the need for
clean air and water, limited noise impacts, and a livable climate.

Aircraft engines produce carbon dioxide (CO2), which comprises about 70% of the exhaust, and
water vapor (H2O), which comprises about 30%. Less than 1% of the exhaust is composed of pollutants
like nitrogen oxides (NOx), oxides of sulfur (SOx), carbon monoxide (CO), partially combusted or
unburned hydrocarbons (HC), particulate matter (PM), and other trace compounds.

Generally, about 10 percent of aircraft pollutant emissions are emitted close to the surface of
the earth (less than 3000 feet above ground level). The remaining 90 percent of aircraft emissions are
emitted at altitudes above 3000 feet. The pollutants CO and HCs are exceptions to this rule as they are
produced when aircraft engines are operating at their lowest combustion efficiency (while wheels are
on the ground), which makes their split about 30 percent below 3000 feet, and 70 percent above 3000
feet. Aircraft are not the only source of aviation emissions. Airport access and ground support vehicles
typically burn fossil fuels and produce similar emissions. This includes traffic to and from the airport,
shuttle buses and vans serving passengers, and ground support equipment (GSE) that services aircraft.
Other common emissions sources at the airport include auxiliary power units (APU) providing electricity
and air conditioning to aircraft parked at airport terminal gates, stationary airport power sources, and
construction equipment operating on the airport.

In an article published by Mason Inman for National Geographic News in 2010, recent studies
suggest that you are more likely to die from exposure to toxic pollutants in plane exhaust than in a plane
crash. In recent years, airplane crashes have killed about a thousand people annually, whereas plane
emissions kill about ten thousand people each year, researchers say.

Further, the Los Angeles Times has reported that high levels of potentially harmful exhaust
particles from aircrafts using Los Angeles International Airport have been detected in a broad swath of
densely populated communities up to 10 miles east of the runways, a new air quality study reported.
The research, believed to be the most comprehensive of its type, found that takeoffs and landings at
LAX are a major source of ultrafine particles. They are being emitted over a larger area than previously
thought, the study states, and in amounts about equal in magnitude to those from a large portion of the
county's freeways.

Although the said airport caters to a large number of aircrafts and aviation facilities, one cannot
disregard the magnitude of such harmful exhaust as regards its area of effect. Notably, the wet market
in Sibulan is located just across the airport itself. One cannot underestimate the effects of such pollutant
from the aircrafts exhaust to the fresh meat sold in the said wet market.

Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Chapter IV of the Code on Sanitation of the
Philippines, Section 3.1 provides that the market site shall be located at least 50 meters from schools,
religious institutions, public offices, funeral establishments, and other public gathering places and 25
meters from abattoirs and other possible sources of contamination. Although one can argue whether or
not an airport is part of public gathering places and/or other possible sources of contamination, this
provision should be read in line with the Clean Air Act of 1999 which recognizes the right of citizens to
breathe clean air together with its IRR.1

1 Section 1. Air Quality Principles. -


a. The State shall promote and protect the global environment to attain sustainable development while recognizing
the primary responsibility of local government units to deal with environmental problems.

b. The State recognizes that the responsibility of cleaning the habitat and environment is primarily area-based and that
air quality management and control is most effective at the level of airsheds.

c. The State recognizes the principle that "polluters must pay" and the important role of economic instruments in air
quality management and control.

d. The State recognizes that a clean and healthy environment is for the good of all and should therefore be a concern
of all.