Since the Luzon-wide lockdown was announced last March 15, Luzon residents have seen quite a few shocking changes to the environment. For one, the air quality in Metro Manila has improved so much that cities like Pasig, Makati, and Quezon City have been given air quality index scores that mean “air pollution poses little or no risk.”
Metro Manila roads and skylines
On April 5, Facebook user Junifer Abatayo went on a quick grocery run when he chanced upon a nearly empty Roxas Boulevard. On a normal day, the streets of Roxas Boulevard are witnesses to heavy traffic, groups of morning joggers, crowds, and even homeless seeking shelter. Who would have thought the day would come when we would see it with “blue skies, fresh air, and clean streets”?
Better air quality has lead to clearer skies over Metro Manila and if you take photos of the skyline, it noticeably isn’t tinted gray by smog anymore. Facebook user Ellis Lagasca even got to compare the skyline in a photo taken in December 2019 with a photo taken in March 2020. Just look at how much smog and pollution were over the city!
An unseen side of Makati under lockdown
There’s something unsettling yet relaxing in seeing one of Metro Manila’s major central business districts looking so eerily empty. Makati, without the bustling crowd of employees and business workers rushing to their offices, and, yes, without the usual traffic jams, looks absolutely peaceful.
Sebastien Gilbert perfectly captures Makati on lockdown mode in his photo album composed of about 50 images, each more beautiful than the one before it. The photos show silent streets and a stillness that envelops a city awaiting the arrival of its occupants.
As if those photos weren’t enough, this video edit entitled “Makati: Uncrowded” will make you miss walking down the streets of the business district.
BGC Taguig in a new light
BGC is another major business district that has its fair share of business workers, though not as crowded as others. This video uploaded on March 28 showed us a quiet and peaceful Taguig. There are almost no cars and no people, there’s only the blue sky, the parks, and the chirping birds. It almost looks like a mini version of Manhattan.
Once the quarantine is lifted
It is indeed surprising how nature quickly started to get better the moment humans were forced shut in their houses. It’s not only the Philippines that’s experiencing environmental improvements. In India, the Himalayas are seen with the naked eye for the first time in 30 years. That’s even more surprising if you consider that India’s cities are hailed as one of the most polluted in the world. Now, they can see the famous mountain range over 200km away.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it a lot of misery but it has also been the key to giving the Earth a chance to recuperate albeit at a price. Once the quarantine is lifted and things go back to normal, it’s safe to say that we’re also saying goodbye to these marvelous views and the rare treat of almost no air pollution.
The enhanced community quarantine in Luzon has been extended until April 30.