Cebu City told: Get ready for bus transit project-A A +A
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
CEBU CITY – Vehicular traffic will be disturbed. There may be pollution, loss of vegetation and trees. Power, water, telecommunications and other utilities may be disrupted.
These are among the environmental impacts of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Cebu City once its implementation and construction will start.
But project proponents assured these environmental impacts will be temporary and will last only during the construction period.
Representatives from the World Bank, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), and Woodfields Consultancy Inc. presented on Monday to the different stakeholders the potential environmental impacts of the project. Woodfields is the consultancy firm that conducted the environmental impact assessment.
Dr. David Green, the environmental specialist from Woodfields, listed on Monday in his presentation 14 environmental impacts in the construction phase of the BRT and six others during the project’s operation phase.
To address all these concerns, Green said there is a need to establish an environmental management plan (EMP), which will outline specific strategies to offset any harm done on the environment.
During the construction, among the environmental impacts are the disturbance of pedestrians and the flow of traffic in the city. Construction materials will have to be stockpiled inside and around the project site.
The supply of power, water, telecommunications and other utility systems and services may also be interrupted, particularly along the BRT corridor.
The BRT route in the city will be from Bulacao, passing through N. Bacalso Ave., then to Osmeña Blvd., Escario St. and straight to Barangay Talamban.
Green added that the BRT will cause pollution due to solid and liquid wastes, hazardous wastes, and excavation spoils. There will also be noise pollution, which could be an issue for schools and hospitals.
Aside from these, Green said there will be “localized” ponding and flooding within the project site, construction camps and other areas adjacent to the project. The project may also cause siltation of nearby drainage channels and waterways.
There will be loss of vegetation and trees along the BRT corridor once the project will be implemented. Roadways in the city will have to be widened to give way to the buses that will be used for the mass transport system.
For the operation phase, Green said the environmental impacts of the BRT project will include noise pollution, air pollution, pollution due to solid and wastewater generation, conflict on power and energy sources, and traffic congestion and vehicular mobility.
Green said there is a need to make sure that the BRT project will comply with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) noise standards and vehicle emission standards, among others.
There is also a need to formulate a solid waste management plan that will be in line with Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
Green also sees the need to use solar panels to minimize reliance on the city’s local power provider.
As to the disturbance to pedestrian and vehicular traffic, Green said a holistic traffic management plan is recommended.
There is a need for a utility re-provisioning plan, to deal with interruptions in power, water, telecommunications and other utilities.
Other recommendations include the provision of a construction material management plan, drainage management plan, excavation protection and runoff control plan, and provision of vegetation and tree replacement and landscaping plan, among others.
Green said all these plans, which will be contained in the EMP, will be formulated by them with the help of the agencies and the City Government.
“The EMP is a working document. If there are unexpected impacts that will arise during the construction period of the project, then we have to include them in it,” he said.
Delfin San Pedro, environmental impact team leader, assured that the environmental impacts of the BRT project will only be temporary.
“Majority of these will only be experienced during the construction period of the project,” he said. San Pedro said the construction of the BRT system in the city will take one to two years.
Proponents of the BRT had said they are aiming for an October 2013 start and for the system to be operational by 2015.
San Pedro said they are already working with the EMP and its final draft will be submitted to the World Bank and DOTC by August for feedback. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 17, 2012.