This story was contributed by the Iloilo City Environment and Natural Resources Office as part of celebrations of the inaugural International Day of Clean Air for blue skies.
Iloilo City is joining the global community to celebrate the first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies. This new day is appreciated given the need for international cooperation and coordination to address air pollution affecting people and the environment.
As part of its contribution to this global effort, Iloilo City is sharing the initiatives it is taking to combat air pollution and how it is promoting community participation and involvement.
Iloilo City Mayor, Jerry Trenas, recognized the UN’s significant initiative to assign an annual day to celebrate clean air.
“Much of the work in managing air pollution is working with everyone, including key stakeholders in key sectors. We must consolidate and harmonize clean air initiatives as our efforts will make a significant impact if done in a coordinated and strategic manner,” Mayor Trenas said. “Moreover, the goal of cleaning our air goes beyond city boundaries. we must coordinate and harmonize our actions with neighbouring cities and communities and solidify our resolve to combat air pollution.”
In 2013, Iloilo City looked at its sources of air pollution and produced an emissions inventory. One major finding was unexpected – indoor pollution from burning solid fuel in homes is a major source of air pollution in the city. Local radio commentators and the general public assumed that jeepneys (the city’s popular mode of transport) were the main culprit since the city does not host heavy industries. By producing an emissions inventory, the city learned that it needed to focus its efforts on households.
Even though liquified petroleum gas (LPG) is widely available, people still rely on charcoal for cooking. But even though LPG is relatively reasonably priced, the cost of a regular 11-kilogram tank is beyond the means of the many living in poor communities.
To reduce indoor pollution, the Iloilo City Environment Office started an awareness-raising campaign called the Social Marketing Information and Education Campaign. Its goal was to develop a partnership with stakeholders through various awareness-raising activities to highlight the connection between health and indoor pollution caused by the use of solid fuel.
The Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Clean Air Asia helped launch this program to reduce pollution. The Asian Development Bank and the University of the Philippines are conducting a study on particulate matter from household air pollution and results will help the city government launch a more targeted approach to reduce household air pollution.
The city’s initiatives on clean air are based on creating partnerships and building collaboration, which includes working with a consortium of major universities to survey and research major sources of air pollution depending on the school’s interest and specialization.
Iloilo City will continue to work with its residents to manage air quality and fight air pollution. This includes more strategic responses and increased coordination beyond the city limits. The city has started working with nearby local governments to form metropolitan-level initiatives. The work on clean air has become a collective initiative of everyone for the welfare of the general public.