THE PHILIPPINES In a bid to clean up the heavily-polluted air in the capital city of Manila, the department of energy and 21 oil companies have recently signed an agreement to phase out the use of leaded petrol in the capital. The phase-out will come into effect from April 1. This date is nine months ahead of the nation's Clean Air Act January 2001 phase-out plan.

Now the Philippine oil companies have barely 60 days left to complete their service stations' transition to the use of unleaded petrol. "Unleaded gasoline is definitely more environmental-friendly,' said Mario Tiaoqui, the country's energy secretary. He said that the phase-out will go a long way towards minimising the problem of air pollution, which had reached dangerous proportions in recent years, in the city.

"We are glad, therefore, that the concerted move for an early phase-out of leaded gasoline is being actively supported by major oil companies as well as new players in the industry,' he said, adding that the joint target of the department of energy and the oil companies is to make the country switch to unleaded petrol within the year.

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