Street cleaning project in the barangay. Photo courtesy of Barangay 128
This article is part of the series about the community engagement project under the Asia Blue Skies campaign. This project is supported by 3M Global, the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), and the Integrated Programme for Better Air Quality in Asia (IBAQ Programme). Read the Filipino translation of this piece here.

Community members of Barangay 128 highlighted the importance of stakeholder participation toward a successful implementation of Manila City’s clean air action plan. Members of the Barangay 128 community shared their insights on how to address air pollution in a community engagement session on December 1, 2021. 

 

A total of 27 participants attended the discussion, with 18 of them on-site, while nine attended via Zoom. The participants were composed of home owners’ association presidents, barangay officials, representatives from the Manila city government, representatives from the civil society, and Clean Air Asia. 

“As pronounced at COP 26, Canada intends to build on our plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home and abroad. We believe this step will help those already affected by climate change, to build resilience and adapt to its impacts. Building resilience means investing in its people. What Clean Air Asia is doing with Barangay 128 embodies just that. By engaging communities on air quality, it ensures that climate action is grounded in concrete actions,” said Vicky Singmin, Political Counsellor, Mission of Canada to ASEAN, in a recorded video message. The government of Canada through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) is one of the supporters of this engagement project. 

During the discussion, the participants were divided into three groups where they talked about proposed interventions and activities to improve the air quality in Barangay 128. Air pollution in the community can be traced from scrap metal and garbage burning, as well as industrial and vehicle emissions. These emission sources were the ones that the community engagement seeks to address through a series of interventions and activities. 

 
Project Inception Meeting
Participants listen intently during the discussion at the Project Inception Meeting held last December. Proto from Barangay 128.

 

During the earlier meetings in July and August, Barangay 128 community members proposed concrete actions such as strengthening the implementation of the barangay ordinance against metal and garbage burning, raising the awareness of the people in the barangay on these ordinances, and identifying socio-economic solutions that would provide alternative livelihood to people who engage in burning activities to earn a living to address emission sources in their community. 

This discussion validated and enriched the findings from the air pollution survey conducted in the barangay a few months back. The participants suggested that it is important to involve the scavengers in a participatory clean air plan (specific for Barangay 128) as they are an important stakeholder in the community. They highlighted that communication activities should emphasize the health impacts of burning garbage and copper (tanso). 

Through the facilitated group discussions, the participants identified activities and interventions that could help address the main sources of pollution. Among them are: the strict implementation of existing barangay resolutions, establishment of a Clean Air Watch where community members could participate, installation of CCTVs for monitoring community activities, raising awareness of community members on air pollution sources and health impacts, confiscation of copper wires and other scrap metals. 

One of the group leaders in the activity, Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) Chairperson Alma A. Geli noted that their group finds it necessary to emphasize the negative effects of burning of garbage, copper wires and other scrap metals. “It is important that beyond raising awareness, we need to emphasize the disadvantages of garbage burning as well as copper wire burning, not only in the health of the people but also the community,” she said in Filipino. 

They also discussed how to address other sources of air pollution such as motor vehicle emissions, industry emissions, and the use of charcoal for cooking. Other points discussed during the meeting are presented in the infographic below:
 

Project Inception Meeting Infographic
Infographic by: Cyreene Fontanilla