Manila City joins the BreatheLife campaign, commits to safe air by 2030

The capital city of the Philippines commits to achieving safe air for its population and align climate change and air pollution policies.

Manila City, capital of the Philippines, has joined the BreatheLife campaign, having committed to achieving safe air quality by 2030 at the Climate Action Summit in 2019.

One of the world’s most densely populated cities and among the most populous and fastest-growing in Southeast Asia, Manila is infamous for heavy traffic, which contributes the majority of its air pollution.

Still, the latest AirVisual World Air Quality Report, released earlier in the year, ranked the city of 1.8 million inhabitants as having the best air quality in Southeast Asia, though no major city in the region met WHO air quality guidelines.

“The City of Manila commits to achieving air quality that is safe for our population, and at the same time, to align our climate change and air pollution policies by 2030 to maximize the number of people breathing clean air,” said Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.

“We must implement air quality and climate change policies that will achieve National Ambient Air Quality Standards and ultimately World Health Organization Ambient Air Quality Guideline Values,” he continued.

Three air quality sensors are installed in the city under the Asia Blue Skies Program, measuring particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide. The air quality data, together with the emissions inventory and health mapping results, will be used as basis for the city’s clean air action plan to be completed by end of 2020. Additionally, the Environmental Management Bureau – National Capital Region (EMB-NCR) is preparing to put up a reference monitoring station in Manila City within the year.

Other highlights include reviving the Anti-Smoke Belching Unit, the creation of a Clean Air Action Plan as well as a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, and an Information, Education and Communications (IEC) campaign on air quality management.

In the transportation sector, the City is also promoting the usage of electric vehicles and to encourage public transport use and active mobility like walking and cycling.

Another challenging sector for the fast-growing and population-dense city is waste management. A significant part of its IEC campaign is focused on ecological waste management and fulfilling the promise of a 20-year-old national Ecological Waste Management Act, by reaching different sectors and actors to get them to do their part to minimise, manage and properly segregate waste, including reducing biodegradable waste. The City currently implements proper segregation of waste in some districts.

To start reducing emissions from its energy supply, the City plans to install solar panels on different government buildings.

Future actions will be guided by a science-based Clean Air Action Plan, currently in development through the Asia Blue Skies Program funded by 3M and implemented by Clean Air Asia, which aims to deliver air quality solutions.

Manila City is the sixth BreatheLife member from the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) of the Philippines.

Follow Manila City’s clean air journey on the BreathLife website here

The BreatheLife campaign is a CCAC initiative led by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the World Bank. 

This story first appeared on the BreatheLife website on May 07, 2020. 

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