Pasig Green City Program: Towards a Healthy Environment and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
Rapid economic growth often results in unplanned urbanization with its host of negative consequences, such as the mushrooming of densely packed communities with limited access to water and sanitation. As a result, cities like Pasig are often confronted with problems of solid waste management, flooding, pollution, health problems and environmental degradation. If these problems are not addressed, socio-economic development will not be sustained and the poor will suffer the most.
With this realization, the Pasig City Government crafted the Pasig Green City Program in 2007. The program aims to transform Pasig into a progressive city with clean air, safe water and a healthy environment where there are lush urban forest and green spaces and is populated by people who are ecologically empowered. Under the project, environmental protection is fully integrated with community development.
Among the program’s strategies is the enactment of environmental ordinances and strict enforcement of laws requiring all establishments to secure an Environmental Permit to Operate and to install antipollution devices.
The program also trained 500 Green Police Volunteers from the 30 barangays as enforcers and implementers of the Pasig Green City Program. They are authorized to apprehend violators of environmental laws and ordinances. The Pasig Green City Program also employs an integrated, holistic and proactive approach in addressing air, odor, water, land, noise and visual pollution.
Since its implementation, the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) has generated an income of between PhP 8 to 16 million from industrial inspection fees, penalties from Anti-Smoke Belching and voluntary emission testing fees. The income will be used to supplement other sources of revenue for the operations and maintenance of the Pasig Green City Program and for the implementation of other environmental projects.
Under the program, the LGU was able to plant 22,000 trees, which absorb carbon dioxide and air pollutants. The tree-planting activities have also heightened\ people’s awareness on proper environmental management. And because of vegetable gardening, people now have access to organic vegetables and traditional herbal remedies.
Today, all commercial and business establishments are incorporating environmental policies and green management principles. With the high number of smoke-belching vehicles apprehended by the deputized Green Police, more people are now conscious about conducting preventive maintenance of their vehicles and are adopting cleaner technologies. Pasig City has also been declared as a role model for intensified Smoke Belching monitoring and apprehension in the country. More importantly, the city’s air quality has been classified as one of the cleanest in Metro Manila.
The City Government took the lead in adopting cleaner technologies by converting its government-owned gasoline vehicles into LPG-powered vehicles towards cleaner air and sustainable urban transport. About 81 government-owned vehicles were converted to LPG which is more fuel efficient and clean air compliant. In this way, the government served as a good example to its people.
Since 2008, about 15,800 kilograms of recyclable wastes have been recycled and a total of PhP79,000 was raised. This amount was apportioned equally to 10 public schools.
From September 2007, about 10,000 ecobags were distributed to all sectors in Pasig as part of the advocacy to ban the use of plastic bags in the markets. The City Government gave PhP 1 million in subsidies for the production of the ecobags. This enabled the market\ vendors to sell the bags at a lower price and helped them obtain an alternative source of livelihood.
About 800 women have been trained and employed as makers of water lily bags. This alternative livelihood gave women the opportunity to increase their earning and coping capacity. It also helped improve the water quality of the city because water pollution was reduced.
As of 2008, there are 27 solar powered lights that have been installed in the streets of Barangay Kapitolyo and within the Pasig City Hall compound. About 1,140 incandescent bulbs were replaced with Compact Florescent Lamps (CFL) as part of the Palit-Ilaw Project in the Mutya ng Pasig Mega Market.
The success of the Green City program is largely attributed to its promotion of people’s participation and empowerment. The LGU ensured that the voice, aspiration and welfare of the people were incorporated in the development and implementation of the program.
Moreover, the LGU implements its environmental projects in cooperation with various stakeholders—the community, NGO/POs, the academe, the churches, the barangays, the business establishments, the transport and other sectors. For instance, the Carbon Sink Campaign: Tree Growing activity is undertaken by the LGU in partnership with the schools, business establishments, barangays, homeowners, and civic organizations. Meanwhile, in the Industrial Pollution Control project, the Multipartite Monitoring Teams are composed of affected stakeholders such as the homeowners, NGO/POs and barangay officials. Under the GreenHeart Savers project, the school children, teachers and parents are encouraged to bring recyclable materials to school. And in the Promotion of Renewable Energies and Technologies, the ACTO Transport group acts as evaluator of technologies. The city government also conducts Mandatory Environmental Education Seminars in partnership with Greenheart Movement and the Metro Manila Anti-Smoke Belching Association. The seminar is for jeepney drivers and operators.
The experience of Pasig City indicates that program sustainability can best be achieved if the stakeholders or beneficiaries take center stage in program planning and implementation. The program must also contribute to the upliftment of the stakeholders. And to sustain all the program components, the LGU needs to enact ordinances.
To date, the LGUs of San Juan City, Marikina City, Quezon City, and City of Manila have successfully replicated the Anti-Smoke Belching operation in their own localities.