The deteriorating quality of air in Metro Manila and the surrounding areas is a major issue that emerged in the 1990s as air pollution is affecting the health and welfare of the residents. The major sources of air pollution are both mobile (primarily motor vehicles) and stationary (mainly power plants and boilers in various industrial processes). With growth of the economy anticipated to continue in the foreseeable future, emissions of pollutants from these sources are expected to increase considerably if actions are not taken to mitigate them.
2. Economic Development Goals and Challenges
The major challenges faced by the economy in the long run include rapid population growth, relatively high incidence of poverty and social and economic inequalities, low productivity, degradation of natural resources, deterioration of environmental quality, and intensified international competition. To tackle these problems, the Government adopted the concept of sustainable development for economic planning embodied in the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan for 1993-1998, the Updated Medium Term Philippine Development Plan for 1996-1998, and the long-term development strategy: Philippine Agenda 21.
3. Air Quality Management
Like almost all Asian developing countries, the Philippines has a host of environmental problems that are rooted in rapid population growth, high population density, limited investment for environmental protection and inadequate institutional capacity for environmental management. Major environmental problems in urban areas are related to the lack of waste management and drainage facilities and urban congestion, as manifested by pollution of natural water bodies, poor environmental sanitation in crowded and low-income areas, excessive noise and air pollution.
4. Sources of Emissions
The major sources of air pollutants in the Metro Manila air shed include vehicular emissions, emissions from industrial processes, and combustion of fuels in power plants, industries, and commercial establishments. During the decade up to 1996, the number of vehicles in the Philippines increased at an annual growth rate of 10.6 percent; over 60 percent of the national vehicle fleet were in the air shed. There were approximately 1.2 million motor vehicles in Metro manila and another 0.6 million vehicles in the surrounding provinces in 1996.
The major pollutants from diesel engines include TSP, a high proportion of which consists of suspended particulate matter of less than 10 microns (PM10 ) from carbon particles or soot, heavy hydrocarbons condensed or absorbed onto the soot, and sulfate, and other byproducts of combustion that may be carcinogenic. Gasoline engines emit carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxide (NOx), lead, and volatile organic compounds.
5. Ambient Air Quality
The Philippines originally implemented national ambient air quality standards in 1978; these were revised and amended by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in 1992. The purpose of these standards is to protect public health and welfare, and reduce damage to property.
6. Estimates of Health Impacts and Economic Growth
The major impact of air pollution is on public health. Analysis of the impact of air pollution on society has concluded that the poor are the most adversely affected group. A valuation of health impacts undertaken for PM10, SOx and lead has concluded that in 1996 prices annual losses from PM10 amount to about P3,600 million, SOx P950 million, while those attributable to lead are P443 million. Even without including other pollutants and material damage, the costs from polluted air to residents of Metro Manila are considerable.
7. Constraints and Issues
Air quality management in Metro Manila is constrained by limited institutional capacity of the concerned agencies, which is attributable to inadequacies in financial and human resources, equipment and facilities. These inadequacies result in the lack of reliable and up-to-date data on emission sources and air quality, weak enforcement standards and regulations, and limited capability for predicting air quality consequence of changes in various socioeconomic factors.
A key concern is the general lack of enforcement of existing standards and regulations. While sufficient laws and regulations are theoretically in place to deal with air pollution violations, it is apparent that few organizations or individuals regard law enforcement as a deterrent.
8. Government Objectives and Strategy
The legal basis for air pollution control is provided by three laws relating to stationary pollution sources, mobile sources, and environmental impact assessment. These three laws are supported by a number of other rules and regulations relating to motor vehicles inspection, regulation and quality control of oil products.
Moreover, with the passage of Republic Act 8749, known as the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 provides the government with a stronger and more comprehensive legal basis and framework for air quality management.
B. CLIMATE CHANGE
1. Initial studies have established decreasing inflows in the country’s reservoirs, indicating possible adverse implications on the country’s water supplies.
2. For other ecosystems like the country’s coastal areas, initial studies indicate that existing coastal problems like flooding and inundation may increase due to accelerated sea level rise and increasing frequencies of typhoons and coastal storms. This will be further aggravated by the degradation of coastal and marine ecosystems from human-induced causes like pollution, over-exploitation of coastal resources and uncontrolled development. With approximately 70% of the country’s municipalities and cities situated in the country’s 32,400 kilometer coastline, about 50 million people are at risk from these climatic hazards.
3. It was noted that climate change could translate to about 17% increase in the wet season streamflow and a decrease of around 35% in dry season streamflow of the watershed. it was noted that climate change could translate to about 17% increase in the wet season streamflow and a decrease of around 35% in dry season streamflow of the watershed.
4. Over-all, around two thirds of the entire poor population of the Philippines (also referred to as rural poor) reside in and depend on the country’s terrestrial and coastal ecosystems for livelihood and sustenance. As of end 2007, this totaled 24.4 million Filipinos or 33% of the total population of 88.6 million. Of this number, the indigenous peoples, comprise approximately 8% or 7.08 million of the population.
Strategies and the Proposed Programme
5. The Philippines and Spain, as Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, have certain commitments in relation to adaptation.
6. The Philippines and Spain, as Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, have certain commitments in relation to adaptation.
7. The joint programme will enable the attainment of the above commitments and directly contribute to the achievement of the MDGs, the UNDAF outcome on environmental sustainability.
8. The joint programme seeks to assist the Philippines address the key strategic issues that have a direct bearing on the achievement of the MDGs by pursuing the following three (3) outcomes
a. Climate risk reduction (CRR) mainstreamed into key national and selected local development plans and processes;
b. Enhanced national and local capacity to develop. Manage and administer plans, programmes and projects addressing climate change risks; and
c. Coping mechanisms improved through pilot demonstration projects.