CAGAYAN de Oro City envisions having a cleaner air in the year 2014.

The City Government, supported by the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the Asean working group for Environmentally Sustainable Cities (AWGESC), held a one-day visioning workshop for clean air for Smaller Cities Project at the Malberry Suites on Thursday.

At least 40 representatives from the government, transportation, academe, business sector and non-government organizations participated in visioning a clean air action plan to be implemented within six months.

Cagayan de Oro City and Iloilo are among the two recipient cities in the Philippines for the Clean Air Act project out of 10 highly urbanized cities.

Martina Kolb, GTZ representative, discussed the project being implemented in seven Asean countries namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao-PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam during the workshop.

Kolb said smaller cities tend to be neglected in overall development planning and there is an urgent need to help develop and implement measures to improve quality in such cities.

The project hopes to empower smaller cities to develop and implement their own “Clean Air Action Plan” with the participation of civil society and the private sector since many laws protecting the environment are not fully realized in all its objectives.

Vicky Segovia, executive director of Partnership for Clean Air (PCA), said inadequate urban planning, the establishment of satellite cities and the preference of individual over public transport result in increasing motor vehicle mileage which in turn, increases the level of air pollution in urban firms.

“As far as possible, civil society, private sectors and other stakeholders shall be involved in the development and execution of clean air measures. This helps in creating public awareness and triggers the motivation of the public to support these measures,” Segovia said.

Kolb said they will do the facilitating while the residents will implement on what they envision for a cleaner air in the future.

She cited that small and medium- sized cities are increasingly able to develop and should implement measures to improve their air quality.

“The city will make a flexible work plan to prepare a technical sound but practical clean air plan including its time frame, resources, responsibilities of those who committed to make their dream into a reality for a better place to live that will also serve as an example for the other cities,” Kolb said.

In six months’ time, the technical group will come back to assess the project.

Councilor President Elipe, chairperson of the City Council committee on environment, assured environmental groups that the City Government will try its best to sustain projects concerning the environment.

article by Nicole Managbanag of SSC; flickr photo by dandielingatong

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