The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) revealed that the Philippines’ first air quality monitors will be deployed in areas most affected by Taal Volcano’s unrest, specifically in Agoncillo, Batangas, and Alfonso, Cavite.

Taal has been on alert Level 3 since the start of July after phreatomagmatic eruptions occurred in the volcano’s mouth. Fumes from its crater are also being released regularly, which has contributed to air pollution in nearby municipalities.

“Towns and cities majorly affected by the continued restiveness of Taal Volcano would soon receive a helping hand as researchers from the University of the Philippines Diliman are set to deploy air quality monitors in their area,” DOST said in a statement it released on Monday (July 12).

The locally-made monitors, called Robust Optical Aerosol Monitor (ROAM) Air Quality Monitors, were the brainchild of researchers from the University of the Philippines-Diliman (UPD) spearheaded by Dr. Len Herald V. Lim.

It was developed in partnership with DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

The devices work by measuring particulate matter in the air using mass concentration measurement and then sends the statistics to an app to inform users. These Filipino-made air quality monitors are also cheaper than their foreign-made counterparts.

“ROAM units use a different method in detecting particles that does not require the manufacture/fabrication of specialized parts typical of contemporary commercial instrumentation. This allows a much lower production cost, smaller maintenance requirement, and an exclusive research chain,” Lim explained.

According to DOST, the deployment of the monitors will help in reducing the effects of air pollution in communities affected by Taal’s current activities.

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Image credit: ROAM Air Quality Technologies