An image circulating on social media that supposedly shows rising sulfur dioxide levels in Palawan.

The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) debunked a warning circulating online of alleged elevated concentration of sulfur dioxide in the airsheds of Puerto Princesa City and the province of Palawan.

PENRO chief Felizardo Cayatoc said there is no record yet of sulfur dioxide concentration in the city and province, adding that such claim is impossible without the presence of mitigating measures using the sources that may cause the concentration.

He added that sulfur dioxide is a harmful, colorless gas with a stifling odor that irritates the eyes and nasal passages. It is emitted into the atmosphere mostly as a result of operations such as coal and oil combustion in power plants, as well as copper smelting.

“Sa airshed natin dito sa Puerto ay wala pang nag-register na significant info gaya ng sulfur dioxide pero under monitoring ng Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) ‘yong airshed,” Cayatoc said.

“Wala pang record as far as I know. Sulfur dioxide is a colorless gas with a pungent odor. Ang pinanggagalingan nito ay pagsusunog ng coal and oil power plants or from copper smelting,” he explained.

Cayatoc said that it is also unclear if sulfur dioxide concentrations are behind recent forest fires in Palawan, or if they can be triggered by such fires.

“Siguro kung matindi na sunog, maaari. Ang problema kasi sa airshed, pag ‘di malala ay ‘di ma-detect,” he said.

Several days ago, a social media post circulated claiming elevated concentration of the gas in the province’s airshed.

“Good morning mga kapatid, medyo mataas ang concentration ng sulfur dioxide ngayong ARAW dito sa atin sa Palawan. Magsuot po tayo ng face mask. Stay healthy. God bless us all,” the post stated.

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