BAGUIO CITY – Programs for cleaner water and air in Baguio are foremost on the City Environment and Parks Management Office’s (CEPMO) agenda, CEPMO head Cordelia Lacsamana reported during the flag raising ceremony Tuesday morning.
Environmental sustainability in cities while dealing with rapid urbanization makes caring for the resources a challenge, Lacsamana said, thankful for the city-allotted P129M for 2017 operations as major investment projects are funded from other sources.
Accomplishments in January to April this year include the newly-inaugurated P15M-worth sludge dewatering press at the City Sewage Treatment Plant with a P7M desludging truck.
Twenty-seven sewerage infrastructure worth P40M from the local development fund for 2013 to 2016 were completed, Lacsamana said. Eleven of 13 projects worth P16M have also been completed, with two on-going and monitored by her office.
She further reported that 16 projects worth P24M are on various steps of processes for implementation while P46.1million worth of 20 urgent sewer projects are funded from the city’s Annual Investment Plan (AIP) for this year.
Lacsamana also said her office, together with the Health Services Office (HSO) and City Engineers Office (CEO) are working closely on wastewater management, in addition to coordinating with other local government units and line agencies for environmental programs.
Japan International Cooperating Agency offered a one-month training in Japan for a sewage treatment plant specialist while a health department and World Health Organization-assisted program for seven trainees starts June this year.
All programs have reference to ASEAN development programs’ inclusivity where “no one is left behind,” Lacsamana further said.
As to air quality monitoring, areas for particulate matter (PM) 10 and PM 2.5, indicated substantial improvement from “good” to “healthy.”
For vehicle exhaust monitoring, motorists now prefer voluntary testing at the North Sanitary Camp venue than being flagged in the streets. Funds generated from Roadside Inspection Testing and Monitoring Team (RITMT) activities and voluntary emission testing are kept in a trust fund, the report states.
According to Lacsamana, the city is enrolled in the global platform for clean air advocacy and compliance activities are submitted for certification and the clean air monitoring council adheres to the environment code provisions. The program, under the Clean Air Asia will assess and later give out results.
“The office is overwhelmed with the task of caring for a city with a base population of 400,000, increasing with seasonal visitors, the environment code and other relevant laws provide better direction in environmental management,” Lacsamana ended, “but creating avenues for partnership and action is still the best way forward,”
By Julie G. Fianza