Iloilo City is a highly urbanized coastal city of 500,000 residents, halfway between Manila and Davao, on the southern edge of the Philippine island of Panay.
The City was lauded in 2017 by the Clean Air Philippines Movement for its air quality, declared a Clean Air City alongside the City of Davao and given the title of Clean Air Champion.
Its air quality monitoring system regularly reports good to fair air quality.
Iloilo City received the awards with pride. The City, which does not currently host any polluting industries, is nonetheless alert to the potential impacts of any changes in air quality brought on by urban growth.
“This award is a recognition of the efforts that our city has made to improve its air quality. Obviously, Iloilo City is getting more progressive but we should not forget to take care of our environment,” said Mayor of Iloilo Jose S Espinosa III.
The City, which is part of the Clean Air Asia Cities for Clean Air Certification initiative, focuses on transport, indoor air pollution and waste management practices as priority areas, guided by a Clean Air Plan developed with the support of the German government and a Greenhouse Gas Management Plan developed with the support of USAID.
Some highlights of its current efforts include the following:
• Promoting non-motorized transport (walking and cycling) and road-sharing practices as spelled out in the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan, through relevant legislation and infrastructure works.
• A sustainable transport program consisting of policy reforms (which have included exploring the potential for higher capacity transport options such as railways) and traffic management policy reforms that optimize traffic flow and reduce stop-and-go situations to minimize congestion.
• A public awareness campaign on the health impacts of transport emissions, including a partnership with public transport cooperatives to better reach out to drivers of public transport vehicles on this issue.
• A public awareness campaign on the health impacts of burning charcoal and wood and ways to reduce emissions/exposure to indoor air pollution, for example, the use of green cookstoves and cleaner fuel alternatives and the installation of air vents. An emissions inventory in 2011 indicated that household and commercial cooking using these fuels were major sources of particulate matter pollution.
• Promoting renewable energy (solar and wind) for electricity by commercial establishments and households. Through a project supported by USAID, energy efficiency audits were conducted in selected shopping malls and schools. Data from the audit showed potential gains from renewable energy use. The project team and Iloilo City then linked these establishments with renewable energy companies, which resulted in the purchase and use of solar panels.
The City is also exploring several opportunities to improve waste management practices such as waste-to-energy project, solutions for medical and hazardous waste disposal, as well as adoption of low-cost wastewater management technology, particularly for hotels and healthcare institutions.
To reduce its emissions footprint from food and agriculture, the City established the Highly Urbanized City Agriculture and Fishery Council to promote self-sufficiency in food production and encourage public participation. It formed the Iloilo Technical Committee on Organic Agricultural Farming to encourage organic farming.
Iloilo City commits to continuing to:
• take an interagency and multi-stakeholder approach to air quality management, involving the environment, health, traffic management and planning sectors, local universities and non-governmental organizations, civil society and private sector groups;
• implement a sustainable transport programme and promote non-motorized transport;
• improve waste management practices;
• strengthen public awareness on air pollution and its health effects while engaging with stakeholder groups such as transport cooperatives, re-sellers of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and barangay-based (village) groups composed of housewives, to do their share in addressing these issues; and
• promote green cook stoves and cleaner fuel for cooking.