Bataan Province, which occupies the entire Bataan peninsula that shelters Manila Bay, has joined the BreatheLife campaign.
The province, population 826,000, is focused on a transit-oriented and carbon neutral development programme, improving solid waste management, promoting clean energy and enhancing urban greening, all of which it expects will have impacts on air quality, particularly in its urban areas.
To bring down mobile emissions, Bataan Province has been upgrading its infrastructure, including widening its provincial expressway and paving its provincial roads with concrete, while introducing electric vehicles (including its most popular forms of road public transport, e-jeepneys and e-trikes).
It also promotes planned unit developments and mixed-used townships within its Local Government Units in order to reduce travel time and necessity, reducing transport emissions in the long run.
When it comes to minimizing emissions from waste management, Bataan’s main approach is to support the efforts of its 11 municipalities and one major city to comply with national legislation RA 9003, its ecological solid waste management act. This includes providing machinery and equipment for waste collection, sorting and diversion, establishing provincial integrated waste management facilities, and promoting source reduction through the regulation or banning of single-use products.
Bataan’s strategy to cut emissions from energy generation, as well as to contribute to its vision of becoming a carbon neutral province, is to gradually increase the contribution of renewable energy to its energy mix.
Currently, most power plants in Bataan rely on fossil fuels, including oil and coal, with some contribution from existing renewable energy sources, primarily solar power, concentrated in the north of the province.
The province’s current renewable energy capacity is 1,833.50 MW, but if all power projects in the current pipeline — committed, awarded and indicative — are built, that capacity will more than double to 5,522.86MW.
It is working with the Global Green Growth Institute on a techno-commercial study for a proposed 50MW Solar Farm project.
The Province also provides incentives for renewable energy developers and end users, in accordance with provisions in the Bataan Environment Code.
To lower emissions from the agricultural sector and develop sustainable agriculture, Bataan Province has introduced biogas digester technology and supported crop diversification and agroforestry, and has issued an ordinance against rice straw burning.
To keep track of its air quality and progress, Bataan has some routine monitoring at a few sites, but aims to establish a network of monitoring stations throughout the province in future.
“We currently have two units of ambient air quality monitoring systems with US EPA-certified analyzers, for real-time monitoring of multiple parameters of ambient air quality, a first for a provincial government unit in the Philippines,” said Bataan Provincial Governor Albert S. Garcia.
Bataan has a Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP), led by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, and is working with Clean Air Asia on a Clean Air Action Plan, which is currently in its preliminary/inception phase.
“There are synergies between action on climate change and clean air that we hope to draw on to achieve as many co-benefits as possible for the health and wellbeing of our citizens and environment, both now and in the future,” said Governor Garcia.