CLEAN water. Clean air. Clean land. Zero waste in landfills by mid of the 21st century. Asia’s Greenest City – Singapore. They started reversing the effects of industrialization and commercialization in 1992.
Carbon dioxide neutral by 2025. Advanced environmental policies. Clean technology for more than 500 companies. Copenhagen, Denmark.
Fossil-fuel free by 2050. First City to win the European Capital Award. Stockholm, Sweden.
Highly dense and highly populated but its greenhouse gas emissions are very low for its size. The city has a green building initiative. New York.
Sustainable action plan for environment. The city has been working towards sustainability since the ‘50s. Helsinki, Finland.
Green Belt Boundary that protects the wild areas from development. One of the greenest cities around the world - Oslo, Norway.
Do we need more benchmarks to reverse the effects of overpopulation, commercialization and industrialization within the environs of Clark Freeport Zone?
Time for waiting is over. The scientific and social researches are there. The model communities around the world are there. The greenest cities in the world already provided the modules. All we need to do is study, copy (if the conditions apply to us), plan, design and implement.
The 20 to 30-year-old Acacia trees that were left after the “Save the Trees” protests several years ago along MacArthur Highway were recently killed by the DPWH and its contractors. The road widening project is again on the go. No one is saying something anymore. Outgoing Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan has gone complacent. I don’t blame him. We understand.
But the incoming leadership should take the challenge on environmental issues very seriously. We want Angeles City to become a truly green city. Not just putting the “green” on the name like Capas Mayor Rey Catacutan’s Green City.
But a truly and seriously green city with a roadmap for environmental sustainability.
Angeles City and Pampanga as a whole need a “green map” and there is no reason at all to delay this, considering the blatant climate change we have been experiencing lately. Normal temperature used to be at 37 degrees Celsius but in the past few weeks, Metro Manila and Pampanga marked a temperature of 41 to 43 degrees celsius, not to mention the increased humidity.
The United Nations (UN) gave three categories in planning for a green map. For a city to be totally “green,” it has to consider the environmental, social and economic factors in assuring green sustainability.
For the environment, there should be clear-cut policies for clean water, clean air and strict regulations on environmental protection. As for the social factors, the disposal and treatment of waste, transportation and green spaces must be well considered. And to protect the environment from the ill effects of economic activities, the city must have serious and strict policies on carbon emissions, energy consumption, building designs and the opportunities in developing green sectors.
Angeles City, much more our country as a whole, should participate in implementing the Kyoto Protocol. This is an international treaty that commits state parties to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions based on the scientific consensus that global warming is occurring. The Kyoto Protocol is an extension of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). It was signed in Japan in 1997.
Angeles City needs to start working together with the Pampanga LGU, the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) and the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) as far as the planning and implementation of a roadmap for environmental sustainability is concerned.
Also, the city can start with small steps by protecting what it has. It can start by planning on urban green spaces, protect what was left of the matured trees, create an inventory of every grown tree within the city limits and review all city ordinances pertaining to construction design and building.
Just an additional trivia: clean and livable cities like New York and Singapore for example, have tens of hundreds of trees in their midst. Research shows that strategic placement of trees in cities can help to cool the air between two to eight degrees celsius, thus reducing the urban “heat island” effect and helping urban communities to adapt to the effects of climate change. Trees also help reduce emissions, prevent erosions and natural disasters and are very efficient water reservoirs. Green spaces in urban communities also improve physical and mental health by decreasing stress and high blood pressure.
Just think about it, we can do it. There is no possible reason why we cannot. Besides, planning urban landscapes with trees can increase property value, by up to 20 percent and attract tourism and business.
Again, try to read Ayala developments. Read Singapore. A green map, anyone? Please?