Jacqueline Caancan, In-charge of EMB's Office of the Director and Concurrent Assistant Director
Clean Air Asia Head of Programs Kaye Patdu
The results help cities understand and benchmark their air quality management status, provide input for governments, and encourage coordination and cooperation among stakeholders and governments in improving air quality
Representatives from cities throughout the Philippines were trained in the use of Clean Air Asia’s Clean Air Scorecard tool to assess their air quality management capacity in order to systematically address the air pollution challenges facing cities and, more broadly, airsheds nationally during a three-day workshop in December.
In collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau, the “National Airshed Assessment Workshop” from December 6-8 brought together representatives from 17 cities and one municipality spanning 14 regions of the Philippines in a comprehensive assessment of air quality management capacity in identified airshed priority cities using the Clean Air Scorecard tool (CAST).
The online CAST provides a synthesis of current air quality management in Asian cities that responds to the growing need for more accessible, objective and in-depth understanding of air quality levels and the management capacity of cities in the region, offering an accessible portal for cities and stakeholders to assess related policies and actions.
The CAST includes three indexes: Air Pollution and Health; Clean Air Management Capacity; and Clean Air Policies and Actions. Air Pollution and Health assesses cities’ air pollution levels against World Health Organization guideline values and interim targets. Clean Air Management Capacity assesses cities’ capacity to determine sources and their contribution, assess air quality status, estimate impacts, and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions through an institutional and policy framework and financing. Clean Air Policies and Actions assesses the existence and enforcement of national and local policies and actions to address air pollutants and greenhouse emissions from mobile, stationary, area and transboundary sources.
“The results help cities understand and benchmark their air quality management status, provide input for governments, and encourage coordination and cooperation among stakeholders and governments in improving air quality,” said Clean Air Asia Head of Programs Kaye Patdu.
The workshop enabled representatives from the 17 cities (Marikina, Baguio, Urdaneta, San Carlos, Santiago, San Fernando [Pampanga], Biñan, Santa Rosa, Calapan, Naga, Legazpi, Talisay, Tacloban, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Butuan) and one municipality (Peñablanca) – encompassing a diversity of national airsheds – to improve their level of understanding of their air quality management capacity and identify existing gaps that will help shape the development of effective future strategies to address air pollution.
Participants were also introduced to Clean Air Asia’s Guidance Framework for Better Air Quality in Asian Cities, which equips countries and cities with the knowledge and direction needed to reduce air pollution, mapping out the steps and actions to be taken by national and local-level policymakers and decision-makers to improve air quality.
“The Guidance Framework will assist these cities in the subsequent development of local roadmaps, building on the results of the city-level assessment,” Ms Patdu said. “Those roadmaps will also feed into the development of the Airshed Action Plan for 2018-2022.”
The next workshop will be held from February 14-17, during which city representatives will use CAST results to develop local roadmaps.
What is an airshed?
Republic Act 8749, otherwise known as the Philippine Clean Air Act, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations defines an “airshed” as an “area with common weather or meteorological conditions and sources of air pollution which affect the interchange and diffusion of pollution in the surrounding atmosphere”.