Invited as a speaker for the Better Air Quality Conference 2023, Provincial Government – Environment and Natural Resources Office (PG-ENRO) Head Raphael De Leon emphasized the need for partnerships to enable Bataan to formulate sound policies and provide better air quality for its people.
“One of the challenges is actually improving the data ecosystem in our air quality management. I was truly inspired by the presentations today, especially the first part, where Beijing has a comprehensive source apportionment, air quality monitoring systems, emissions inventory. So, moving forward, that is the first step we have to take in Bataan,” De Leon highlighted.
The BAQ Conference was launched in 2002, making this the 11th annual conference, with the theme, “Ambition to Action”. Clean Air Asia, along with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)-Climate and Clean Air Coalition, has once again gathered hundreds of policymakers, stakeholders, world-renowned experts, academics, and industry leaders from the Asia-Pacific Region.
“After this, we will try to improve our air quality monitoring system, which is a collaborative effort with the national government and, of course, the private sector,” the PG-ENRO head added.
Mr. De Leon also mentioned that in 2020, Clean Air Asia conducted a study in Bataan, allowing them to understand the air quality in the region. He revealed that the result of this study is within the standards of the Philippine Clean Air Act but exceeds the values in comparison to the WHO guideline values.
During the three-day event held on November 15-17, with pre-events on November 13-14 at the Asian Development Bank Headquarters in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, the alarming numbers from the World Health Organization estimating 7 million premature deaths per year due to air pollution globally were emphasized.
Discussions during the conference cover a wide range of topics such as Pathways to Sustainable Transport in Asia, Science-based policymaking and action for clean air: Asia experience sharing and exchange, Breathing Better: Exploring Investment Opportunities for Air Quality, Air Quality Monitoring Systems: Increasing data coverage and ensuring reliability, Data Platform Construction and Application of Electric Vehicles, and many more.
Air pollution is highlighted as an unseen enemy directly affecting people, leading to various ailments such as heart diseases, stroke, pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and the like. This conference has initiated conversations and fostered collaboration, emphasizing that even one life lost due to inaction is too high a price to pay. Protecting the right to breathe clean air requires action from all sectors.