Traffic, Pollution and Health in the Philippines

One of the biggest problems in the cities of the Philippines is traffic. As of 2013, the LTO has registered 7,690,038 vehicles in the country. 2,101,148 of these vehicles were registered in NCR. This has led to problems in the workers’ efficiency and health because of the pollution and stress from the road. What breeds all this traffic? The answer is this: the need to work. Everyone needs to work but not everyone can get jobs near their homes. This being the case, all these vehicles (private cars, UVs, motorcycles, etc.) are required to keep the economy running.

This has been an accepted truth since cars boomed. Small-time cities that are starting to grow, like Cagayan de Oro, are starting to feel the stress of traffic. Air pollution such as smog and acid rain have become a fact. Hours of time have been allotted and wasted on travelling to and from work. How does this affect the Filipino workforce?

Juggling Sleep and Productivity

If you live in Pasig but work in BGC, you may be familiar with the pain of the road. You get up at 4am because if you leave any later than 5am, you’re in for a two-hour “ride”. You end work at 5pm and get home at 7pm if you’re lucky. This isn’t a rare case, no matter where you live or work.

This schedule is a waste of productivity. The four hours spent in traffic could be used for both more sleep and more activities. Instead it becomes a battle between the two. Without sleep, people become less productive. They will not perform at their best and this will cost them their health and the company money. Meanwhile, choosing sleep means neglecting other things. For example, if you are a parent, you will have less time to tidy your house. You will also have less time to spend with your children. If you aren’t a parent, you lose the chance to do other things, like going out with friends or learning new things. With this arrangement, you have to be willing to make your job your life.

The Effects on Health

No matter who you are, being on the road will affect you physically. “The National Emissions Inventory in 2012 said that 71 percent of air pollution in the country comes from vehicles on the road. This number is even higher in the National Capital Region (NCR) where 85 percent of air pollution comes from vehicles,” writes Trisha Macas from GMA News. Some of the results of this are respiratory problems. Not only will such a problem hamper work efficiency, but it will also lower your chances of living longer. Road pollution also raises blood pressure, which may become permanent.

As aforementioned, being on the road lessens the time you have to sleep. For those who have weaker constitutions and other bodily problems, sleep is very important. Sleep rejuvenates the body and mind. Without sleep, your immune system is lower, your concentration levels drop, and you will be more prone to mood swings and weight gain. Not having enough sleep because of the drive/commute will take its toll on you sooner or later.

Traffic and pollution affect your mental health as well. Because of the high blood pressure and stress, there is an increased risk of depression and anxiety. A study showed that this was especially true for people who commuted for 10 miles or further.

In a space as small as the Philippines, this problem could reach people who aren’t even commuters. Because of the density of establishments, the carbon emissions could very well enter homes and schools.

Also read: Longer commute times take a toll on mental, physical health

Our Solution

Traffic is just part of the job. While it has negative impacts on health, those who are willing to fight for it can endure it. But it is acknowledged that not everyone can survive it. Some are struggling with issues, such as asthma, skin conditions, or depression and anxiety. Some of you cannot physically make the trip to work. If you are one of these people, this can be your solution: work from home. helps employers find Filipino workers to hire for jobs of all kinds. No matter where you are in the Philippines, just sign up and start searching for jobs!

Also read: Are You Thinking About Working From Home?