Marikina, Paranaque among environmentally sustainable cities in Southeast Asia–ASEAN

Published October 25, 2021, 4:55 PM

by Betheena Unite

Two cities in Metro Manila–Marikina and Parañaque– were recently named as among the environmentally sustainable cities in the Southeast Asian region.

SUSTAINABLE CITIES–Secretary Noel Rodriguez from the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to ASEAN (third from left) receives the award, recognizing Marikina City as among the environmentally sustainable cities in the region. Also in the photo are (from left) ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi, Indonesia’s Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya, and Director General for Solid Waste Management Rosa Vivien Ratnawati of Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry. (Photo courtesy of the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to ASEAN)

Marikina, which is located in the eastern part of Metro Manila, is one of the recipients of the prestigious Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Environmentally Sustainable Cities Award.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Marikina received the highest scores for all three categories on clean air, land, and water through the assessments conducted by the country’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The city’s air quality is within the standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the DFA said. The city also has a dedicated anti-smoke belching unit that conducts daily roadside inspections to check the emission level of motor vehicles, which saw a dramatic 47 percent reduction in apprehended smoke belchers from 4,183 individuals in 2018 to 2,204 in 2019.

It was also highlighted that 100 percent of Marikina’s households have access to water infrastructure provided by Manila Water, the city’s water concessionaire. The provided tap water also meets the drinking water standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) and fully meets the average consumption needs of local consumers.

Moreover, more than 70 percent of the city’s households and industries are linked to two existing wastewater treatment facilities with combined capacity of 110 million L/day. Because of this, only one deep well for groundwater is extracted for use.

Marikina is likewise a pioneer in solid waste management in the Philippines. The city ensures the storage of all wastes in dedicated holding areas/receptacles before being properly disposed; 100 percent collection of household wastes through a door-to-door system; and 100 percent waste transportation via covered vehicles.

It also scores high for green spaces. The city’s green spaces (515.61 ha) exceeds the required area needed (428.20 ha) for a healthy living based on WHO standards (9.5 m2 green space/capita).

Meanwhile, Parañaque City received a certificate of recognition under the category “Clean Land for Big Cities.” The city was cited for its solid waste management program which includes the strict implementation of segregation-at-source, segregated collection, and proper waste disposal.

The recognitions were given to the cities during the 5th ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable Cities (ESC) and Certificates of Recognition (COR) awarding ceremony held at the Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Jakarta on Oct. 21.

The ASEAN ESC Award, held in conjunction with the 16th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment (AMME), aims to recognize exemplary efforts to keep ASEAN cities clean, green, and livable. It was first held in 2008 and conducted every three years since then.

According to Indonesia’s Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya, the ASEAN ESC Award is one of the most effective approaches to encourage cities in ASEAN to mobilize their resources to build clean and green cities, and in turn, set standards for other cities to follow.

Previous winners of the ESC award from the Philippines are Puerto Princesa in 2008 and 2011 and San Carlos City in 2014 and 2017.

Third Secretary Noel Rodriguez of the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to ASEAN received the awards on behalf of the two Philippine-based cities during the ceremony.