Because of heavy traffic, a man was stuck inside his van along Roxas Blvd in Pasay City. His location was only 1 km from San Juan de Dios Hospital along the same road. Without traffic, the distance could easily be reached within 2 minutes. He gasped for breath, amid poisonous fumes from exhaust pipes of many vehicles. He had cardiac arrest and fell unconscious. It took more than an hour for his companions to take him to the hospital. He was pronounced dead on arrival.

Manila ranks high in carbon dioxide (CO2) emission index.  At normal levels, CO2 has no measurable adverse effects on the body, but if one’s breathing is compromised or is exposed to large amounts of CO2, one can experience a wide range of side effects, including permanent injury and death. Inhalation of these pollutants can cause respiratory and cardiovascular diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and stroke.

(This story is based on the Bloomberg Initiative Global Road Safety Media Fellowship implemented by the World Health Organization.)

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