The Municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet called for its stakeholders to join them in maintaining and improving the air quality in their town as highlighted during the Clean Air Summit held on Tuesday, 30 August 2022.
“Environment is everybody’s concern. It is very important for us that our stakeholders participate and cooperate in the maintenance of clean air. Malinis ti community, malinis ti paligid natin, malinis ti air, at least very healthy ang ating community,” La Trinidad Municipal Mayor Romeo Salda said.
Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan reiterated this as he presented La Trinidad’s Environment Code and Programs for Environmental Protection and Preservation.
“The management of the environment's task is lodged within the DENR, but again the local government units must share the responsibility – and we cannot do it alone,” he said.
“The most important thing: there must be a community and stakeholder engagement. Everyone must cooperate. Everyone must be environmental champions for us to really provide sustainable management of our environment,” he added.
The Summit also discussed the municipality’s Clean Air Action Plan, presented by Clean Air Asia, as well as the effect of air pollution on human health, led by the Municipal Health Office.
Municipality’s Clean Air Action Plan
Atty. Glynda Bathan-Baterina, Deputy Executive Director at Clean Air Asia, also presented La Trinidad’s Clean Air Action Plan during the Summit, which reflects all inputs gathered from the key stakeholders of the municipality from different consultations.
The municipality’s heat map on emissions showed that most of the emitted nitrogen oxide came from heavy-duty trucks, which in some cases were second-hand. Other sources were from jeepneys and buses.
Meanwhile, the emission of sulfur dioxide mostly came from light duty vehicles delivering goods and services in the municipality, followed by jeepneys, then buses.
To help minimize these emissions, the Clean Air Action Plan suggested the promotion of walking and biking as a form of alternative transportation to the residents; improvement of pedestrian facilities and promotion of public transportation rather than private; advocating green freight; reduction of agricultural burning; and proper solid waste management.
“The stakeholders are very important in this process. So thank you for always being there as key actors in the dialogues that were held during the entire process,” Glynda Bathan-Baterina said.
Voices of La Trinidad’s sectors
On the other hand, representatives from the youth, women, academia, and the transport sector voiced their views during the summit.
When asked what the youth can do to improve the air quality in La Trinidad, young Jhayvee Dulay, the youth can join in information, education and communication campaigns, tree-planting and clean-up activities, reducing the consumption of energy and the use of wood and charcoal, and open burning.
Meanwhile, some women recommended urban gardening using the compost from their own residences. They are also campaigning in favor of the anti-smoking ordinance.
“We ask all of you for us to start in our house, in our husbands, our children, and our wives to explain to them the effects of smoking. If you are smoking, please, stop smoking,” they said.
Academia expressed their appreciation at the Clean Air Summit and committed that they will continue guiding their students on the dos and don’ts towards improving air quality. They also announced that King’s College of the Philippines can be used as a venue for repeating this seminar as this is important to them for their teachers and students.
Lastly, the transport sector asked for the support of the government to ensure the use of quality fuel in their vehicles that would lessen the contribution to air pollution and stop the sales of cheap and dirtier fuel in the market.
The Summit was part of the air quality awareness campaign under the Technical Assistance project led by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Ricardo, Logika Noise Air Quality Consultants, and Clean Air Asia. It aims to raise awareness and gather collective support from the stakeholders to improve the air quality in La Trinidad.
The campaign will be further implemented in four other cities in Asia: Erdenet in Mongolia, Faridpur in Bangladesh, Ho Chi Minh City and Vinh Yen in Vietnam.