|Quezon City’s Green Directions|
Urbanization wreaks enormous environmental consequences. Sprawling urban development tends to overcome vital green spaces. Growing populations put pressure on energy and water resources, waste management, drainage systems, as well as road and transport networks. Densification and high-rise buildings generate higher greenhouse gas emissions.
In a city of more than 3 million people, these environmental challenges are intense. Thus, from the first year of his Administration, Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista waged a determined Green and Blue campaign, which aims for cleaner air and waterways, and greener surroundings, so that city residents can live in healthier environments, more beautiful natural surroundings and have less vulnerability to disaster risks.
Measure GHG. To have clear measures of what is to be addressed and how to determine success rates, the QC Government has been undertaking a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory, with the assistance of USAID’s Climate Change and Clean Energy Project, Philippine League of Local Environmental and Natural Resources Officers and the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute. Findings are: total greenhouse gas emissions of the city in 2012 is 4,269,651 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, with electricity consumption as the biggest offender (44%). A GHG Management Plan is being drafted to formulate policies and strategies to reduce this emission level.
Mandatory: all QC buildings must be “green.” Among the measures being implemented by the city government to address GHG emission levels is its mandatory requirement for structures to comply with the city’s Green Building Ordinance, which is a first in the Philippines. Green buildings promote use of natural ventilation and natural lighting, as well as reuse of resources. The first Green Building Certificate was given to Robinsons Magnolia Town Center in 2012. The City government also has a “green” school, the Commonwealth High School, which has managed to build its own 500 sqm. mini forest park. All new school buildings in the city will have to be Green Certified as well. Completed this year as green school construction projects are Old Balara Elementary School, Payatas C Elementary School and San Bartolome High School.
Regulated use of plastic bags. On October 1, 2012, the City government began regulating the use of plastic bags through an ordinance. The public is now used carrying their own shopping bags, otherwise they would have to pay Php 2.00 for plastic bags requires from retail establishments. At City Hall, Novaliches District Center, Quezon City General Hospital and Novaliches District Hospital, the ban is total – no plastic bags or styrofoam containers.
Greenery throughout the city. The Mayor has instructed that danger areas be delineated and converted into parks. Cupang trees have been planted to mark faultlines. The City’s Green Masterplan also targets the landscaping of center islands, intersections, directional islands and historical markers. Even vertical gardens have been planted as edible or ornamental fences. Specific streets in the city will be planted to particular tree species. Every major developer is also required to plant trees along islands in thoroughfares and sidewalks within a 1-kilometer radius of their developments.