Principle 2: Subsidiarity and devolution

Preventive Air and Noise Pollution Programs in Small Communities: The Case of Palawan, Philippines

Date posted: 
Nov 19 2009

Various programs that aim to minimize air and noise pollution from the transport sector are being implemented. These programs are usually conducted in areas with large and dense population or areas where flow of traffic and people are heavy. The aim is to improve air quality via the application of command and control schemes or market based instruments in the transport sector. Interventions could also involve introduction of alternative technologies (e.g. electric buses) or arrangements (e.g. limitation on number of vehicles via coding schemes).

Responsible Party: 
Regulated Community
I. Objectives or Impact: 

Various programs that aim to minimize air and noise pollution from the transport sector are being implemented. These programs are usually conducted in areas with large and dense population or areas where flow of traffic and people are heavy. The aim is to improve air quality via the application of command and control schemes or market based instruments in the transport sector. Interventions could also involve introduction of alternative technologies (e.g. electric buses) or arrangements (e.g. limitation on number of vehicles via coding schemes). However, there are few cases which showcase the promotion of air and noise pollution minimization in small communities. The common argument is that in small areas, air and noise pollution are relatively minimal. This notion tends to look at policies on pollution as curative rather than preventive. Also, if unchecked, the pace of growth has a greater tendency to overtake policy on pollution and environment. Thus, it becomes equally relevant for small communities and rural areas to undertake policies that would prevent air and noise pollution. The case of Palawan showcases possible preventive interventions that can be put into place. It also makes a point that preventive interventions are effective and could even be less costly to undertake. The objective of the effort is to promote awareness on the need to undertake preventive policies on air and noise pollution in small cities or rural communities.

II. Description of the Good Practice (Outputs): 

The Asian Development Bank extended a technical assistance to Puerto Princesa, the city government of Palawan in the Philippines, for the identification of strategies that will reduce air and noise pollution from tricycles. The tricycles are targeted since this is the prime mode of transportation in the area. Also, if unchecked in terms of the number of vehicles, this sector can be a potential source of air and noise pollution in the city. The activities of the assistance involved the following components: (1) improving tricycle emissions by strengthening the operators’ and members’ technical and managerial knowledge base, (2) establishment of a fund that will be used for possible purchases of cleaner technologies by operators, and (3) enhancing the city government’s capacity in enforcing the Clean Air Act (e.g. roadside emission monitoring). A crucial activity undertaken by the project is soliciting the support of the stakeholders via consultations during the project’s implementation phase. In particular, a micro-finance institution is tapped to administer and manage the operators’ and drivers’ multi-purpose fund.

III. Outcomes or Results: 

Interestingly, the project’s strength is increasing the know-how of those who actually operate and use the tricycles. From the point of view of operators, there is an incentive for this since it ultimately affects their day-to-day earnings. Through demonstration and training, drivers were taught how to give proper preventive maintenance or basic clean-up of tricycles. For the initial training, a total of 161 tricycle drivers benefited. Currently, other associations are requesting the same demonstration training. With regard to the air quality management training, the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) was engaged to provide training on the handling, operating, and maintenance of the air samplers. The PNRI also oversaw the training on the collection of air samples and analysis of the collected samples for the presence and concentration of particulate matters. On roadside emission monitoring, the Environment Management Bureau (EMB) administered the training.

A. Policy Framework: 

The effort required various forms of arrangements given the channels undertaken by the project. In terms of the establishment of funds, a Letter of Engagement (LE) or a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) might be required. The MOA or LE is needed to lay down rules on how the fund will be established and disbursed. On the side of regulation, rules identifying who would eventually perform the task of monitoring air quality need to be determined. A legal delineation of duties of the relevant local government divisions is required. Also, the identification of the office or staff who would be the eventual enforcers would need clearance from other national agencies. In the case of Palawan, sanction from the Department of Transportation and Communication/Land Transportation Office was required.

B. Budgetary and Financial Requirements: 

(see materials and resources)

C. Human Resources: 

The program would involve upgrading of skills of operators. Training on proper engine maintenance for operators and drivers are required. On monitoring of emissions and air quality, existing personnel in the local government can be used. However, these personnel will need certification from national agencies tasked with handling the transport sector and monitoring air quality. For the case of Palawan, involvement from the EMB and the DOTC was critical. With the use of equipment for air sampling, the local government should also have a staff dedicated on the proper maintenance and use of the equipment. This would require training on the setting up and operation of the samplers, and the proper handling storing, and transporting of the air filters.

D. Material Resources: 

The program will require additional capital equipment that will be used for air quality monitoring and road emission testing. For Palawan, a high volume air sampler was required. Machines needed for the handling, storing, and analysis of air samples are also critical.

E. Institutional Support: 

The program is dependent on the support of both public and private institutions like non-government agencies, national agencies and offices, and local communities. For Palawan, the setting up of fund required the support of the Negros Women for Tomorrow’s Foundation. Support from the Department of Science and Technology was also solicited with regard to the provision of technologies on cleaner production.

V. Further Information: 

Air and Noise Pollution Strategies for the Tricycle sub-sector in Palawan, Philippines: Project Interim Report. www.adb.org www.povertyenvironment.net

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