Health risks posed by traffic congestion revealed

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MANILA, April 7, 2015 –- What’s the most terrible thing about bad traffic in the metro? It could give you heart disease.

This is what former Department of Health undersecretary Dr. Teodoro Herbosa said during the April 6 Tapatan forum, stressing traffic congestion poses serious health risks to commuters.

The jeepney remains a popular means of public transportation among Filipino urban dwellers. (Photo: CBCPNews)

According to the doctor, the unresolved traffic mess in cities can cause heart and stress-related health conditions in the long run.

UTI, ‘road rage’

“This is in addition to reported road rage incidents which have resulted in some fatal shooting incidents,” Herbosa added. An increase in incidents of urinary track infections among women is also blamed on daily traffic jams.

Herbosa also noted how air pollution is aggravated by jeepneys’ diesel engines. However, Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) president George San Mateo said drivers are already coordinating with the government’s Environmental Management Bureau to return to gas-fed engines for public transport purposes.

Earlier studies and publications reveal the Philippines’ traffic congestion led to losses amounting to Php 2.4 billion daily in 2012. Should the situation remain the same, the Philippines will lose Php 6 billion a day by 2030 due to worsening traffic jams.

Billions in losses

In a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the costs of traffic will continue to rise if adequate solutions are not seriously considered by government leaders.

San Mateo said the government has neglected developing mass transport facilities as some “influential leaders” opt to protect the booming auto industry and the petroleum demand surge.

He also bewailed how none of the country’s lawmakers take public utility vehicle drivers’ welfare seriously, especially their working conditions with drivers working up to 24 hours a day. He said some drivers have turned to energy drinks, while a few have turned to drugs.

Ricardo O. Quintana, Jr., VP for Business Development of Tokagawa Global Corporation and Parkworld Corporation, meanwhile, said they entered into a PPP (Public-Private Partnership) agreement with the Local Government of Manila to rehabilitate, develop, install and manage parking technology systems and services in the city. They began operations in Binondo, Ermita-Malate, Tayuman, Legarda and the University Belt area.

Quintana said parking meters have been installed in the area to reduce persistent traffic woes, delinquent drivers and erring traffic aides. (Melo M. Acuña/CBCPNews)

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