Parañaque, a city of 765,880 (est.) people in the Metro Manila region of the Philippines, has joined the BreatheLife campaign, with a commitment to actions that are likely to have impacts on air quality and climate change mitigation.
The sixth BreatheLife member has pledged to improve the efficiency of solid waste collection, strictly implement the “No Segregation, no Collection” policy and promote the separate collection of plastics through the “Zero Plastics sa Landfill” (“Zero Plastics in Landfill”) project.
Parañaque City has also committed to leading by example in promoting clean energy. As part of a Green Technology Development Project, funded by a budget allocation set out in the City Annual Investment Plan for 2020, Parañaque is finalizing details on plans to procure and deploy electric tricycles. Motorized tricycles are a popular means of public or private transportation in the Philippines. The City has also planned to install solar panels on City Hall Building, practice different low carbon development initiatives and boost citizen engagement in future projects.
Finally, it has committed to working closely with non-governmental associations and organizations, such as ICLEI and Clean Air Asia on projects aimed at reducing air pollution.
To sustain good air quality, the City of Parañaque’s enacts policies and conducts projects that focus on the reduction of air pollution (and the protection of the environment) through the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), which the latter promotes through social media.
Additionally, Parañaque-CENRO is collaborating with UPS and Clean Air Asia on a project “Air Quality and Climate Change Learning Program for Cities Project,” which aims to build the city’s capacity on air quality communication through awareness raising and engagement activities city departments, community members, and the youth.
It deals with transport emissions— its top priority where air pollution is concerned— through several measures, including apprehending “smoke belchers” plying the City streets through the Anti-Smoke Belching Unit (ASBU), staffed with trained personnel. The City began these efforts just in the last week of November 2019, in conjunction with National Clean Air Month.
The City has an ongoing Urban Gardening Program, led by the team from CENRO, while some barangays (districts) have been implementing their own greening program, called FAITH (Foods Always In The Home) Garden, in parallel with City efforts.
Another high priority for the city’s government is energy supply emissions. The City plans to deploy Energy Officers, who will go house-to-house to supply residents with information on energy conservation— saving electricity, net-metering, and so on— and to encourage these practices. These advocates will be trained and enabled through the ongoing project with ICLEI, one of the City’s partner non-governmental organizations.
To make it easier by default for residents to be energy efficient, the City Government of Parañaque has put the BERDE (Building an Eco-friendly and Resilient Development of the Environment) Ordinance, which spells out a green building code, before the city council, where it is awaiting approval. This City Ordinance encourages the application of architecture designs and innovative technologies for the adoption and use of natural sunlight and ventilation, recycling of potable water, and elimination of electricity driven room cooling systems in all building and structures in order to reduce dependence from fossil fuel generated electricity that address human comfort and emission reduction.
A new division will be created to address energy efficiency and conservation in compliance with the national Republic Act No. 11285, “An Act Institutionalizing Energy Efficiency And Conservation, Enhancing The Efficient Use Of Energy, And Granting Incentives To Energy Efficiency And Conservation Projects”.
At the household level, the Information Officers of Parañaque CENRO’s Community Relations and Information Division (CRID) — whose primary duty is to conduct information, education, and communication (IEC) activities on waste segregation and other best practices on solid waste management — are preparing to expand IEC to energy conservation and renewable energy, pending capacity building.
Parañaque’s main efforts to curb emissions from waste management centre on closing the waste loop; as previously mentioned, the city aims to have zero plastic waste in its landfills and standing firm on a “no segregation, no collection” policy that compels citizens and businesses to sort their waste. It coordinates with Maynilad Water Services, the water and wastewater services provider of the cities and municipalities of the West Zone of the Greater Manila Area, to centralize wastewater treatment.
To control industry emissions, Parañaque’s CENRO has, since January 2020, been part of the city’s one-stop-shop business permit application and renewal process system. Under this system, establishments will now be monitored on their pollution control management, which includes their emissions. CENRO is focused on the inspection of establishments with new business permit applications. This inspection will also involve strengthening the education of these new establishments on environmental compliance requirements (for example, environmental permits, corrective measures, and so on).
Parañaque’s air quality management and climate mitigation plans are incorporated in the city’s annual investment plan and its local climate change action plan.
The city, which has just one air quality monitoring station, located in the district (barangay) of Don Bosco, wants to refine its approach to air pollution control.
“Hopefully, BreatheLife will open up opportunities for us to do more, particularly to help us determine emission sources and non-attainment areas, as well as technical assistance on how we can improve our air quality,” said Department Head of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office, Mr. Bernardo N. Amurao.
With Parañaque on board, over 2.5 million Philippine citizens now live in BreatheLife cities.
Banner photo by Jimaggro/CC BY-SA 4.0