Death of drivers hound LPG-taxi proponents

Recent deaths of taxi drivers in Iloilo City opened anew discussions and debate on the safety of taxi units converted for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)-use here.

In a two-hour public forum over Bombo Radyo's Zona Libre held Friday, LPG-taxi proponents both from the government and private sector faced off with concerns raised primarily by taxi drivers themselves.

A random interview was made by Bombo Radyo that heard similar sentiments of the drivers on health issues. From complaints of persistent dry cough to dryness of throats, the drivers' concerns were matched by complaints of dizziness and sudden headaches from select commuters reached by the radio station.

Dr. Florentino Alerta II was among the panelists with a lengthy discussion presented on the perils of LPG. Dr. Alerta likewise pushed for the importance of regular medical check-ups of taxi drivers as part of the company policy.

Iloilo City has some 600 to 700 taxi units now LPG-run. GDR taxis, one of the biggest taxi groups plying throughout Iloilo has its units "all 100%" converted. No actual figure was disclosed by the owner Donna Ratilla though saying she would rather leave it at its percentage than give the specific units.

Ratilla maintained the safety of LPG in all of its taxis while stressing that such was in compliance of the government's thrust for cleaner air.

As safety precautions, the proponents added, all LPG-taxis are prohibited to park in enclosed waiting areas. And installers are duly checked too, the group continued with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) ensuring the supposed road-worthiness of the LPG-converted taxi units.

The News Today (TNT) in a report gathered at least six deaths of taxi drivers in a 3 month-period. No direct link was made to the LPG taxi units of the drivers however prevailing sentiments of drivers themselves persist.

Director Porferio Clavel of the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said it is about time that a public dialogue will be made on the subject. This, he said, should have the concerted effort of government agencies involved in the LPG-conversion project. Health issues must also be tackled, Director Clavel agreed if only to successfully push for the program and erase the misconceptions of the drivers and commuting public.

Photojournalist Rufino "Pinoy" Gonzales phoned-in from Texas, USA to share his own LPG-taxi episode. A non-smoker, Gonzales said he suffered from sudden nausea and dizziness in two occasions that he took a taxi later discovered to be LPG-run.

by: Florence F. Hibionada


cRiPpLe_rOoStEr a.k.a. Kamikaze said...

I still see either regular diesel or biodiesel as a better alternative to meet the efficiency demands on commercial vehicles. Either LPG or methane (a.k.a. CNG) require heavy and huge devices to be stored, prejudicing the cargo capacity, and since are gaseous are harder to handle. Also, safety is enhanced with diesel, since it's harder to explode or ignite.

ehnriko said...

Why dont they try looking into the records of Manila Hospitals.... the number of LPG fueled Taxi Drivers dying is staggering. But then again... who would want to put this in the news when there's no Big industry going to pay for it?... Bad for their interest!

Carbon Footprint Calculator

Notes to ponder

NASA claims that the government could slow down worldwide global warming by cutting down on soot emissions. Studies by NASA show that cutting down on soot would not only have an immediate cooling effect, but would also put a stop to many of the deaths caused by air pollution. When soot is formed, it typically travels through the air absorbing and releasing solar radiation which in turn begins to warm the atmosphere. Cutting soot emissions would be an immediate help against global warming, as the soot would quickly fall out of the atmosphere and begin to cool it down.

Cutting back on soot emissions would buy us time in our fight against global warming. Soot is caused by the partial burning of fossil fuels, wood and vegetation. Soot is known to contain over forty different cancer causing chemicals, and a complete cut would offer untold health benefits worldwide.

Environmental conservation has always been a topic for lengthy discussions, but up until recent times, global warming and climate changes were vague subjects, with no hard proof. Not surprisingly, the previous lack of attention to these issues have created a very gloomy outlook on our future. So, considering all this, what could be the biggest contributor to climate changes through global warming? Transportation - the man-made iron horses, flying machines and sea monsters, so to speak.

The question we have now is how green is our transportation? The majority of the worlds' vehicles are fueled by oil (petrol, diesel and kerosene). Even if they rely on electricity, the stations used to generate this electricity use fossil fuels for power! Excluding vehicle manufacture, transportation is responsible for 14% of the artificially created greenhouse emissions, mostly carbondioxide.

Automobiles, trains and planes are all responsible for this problem, but cars are the highest impact-makers. They release approximately six times more carbondioxide than a plane and seven times more than sea vessels.

What is Air Pollution?

Air pollution is somewhat difficult to define because many air pollutants, at low concentrations, are essential nutrients for the sustainable development of ecosystems. So, air pollution could be defined as:A state of the atmosphere, which leads to the exposure of human beings and/or ecosystems to such high levels or loads of specific compounds or mixtures thereof, that damage is caused. With very few exceptions, all compounds that are considered air pollutants have both natural as well as human-made origins.

Air pollution is not a new phenomenon; in Medieval times, the burning of coal was forbidden in London while Parliament was in session. Air pollution problems have dramatically increased in intensity as well as scale due to the increase in emissions since the Industrial Revolution.