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Best Practices on Sustainable Reconstruction

Foreword. With the Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda that devastated the Visayas coastal regions in 2013, cities and  towns’ local government units including the national government itself were caught unprepared for the “storm surge and powerful winds which unroofed buildings and demolished houses; humans and animals drowned or flew to their deaths. The Philippine government has appointed a “Rehabilitation Czar”, former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who himself admits, it will be a tough job, but doable. We especially share and dedicate this blog to all who are working on the reconstruction, restoration and rehabilitation of the communities, towns and cities destroyed by probably the planet’s worst weather catastrophe. The message is “building back safer” – with sustainable building principles during reconstruction not only to improve resilience to natural hazards in the future, but also to ensure that the opportunity is seized to shift towards buildings and structures that are as energy efficient, low greenhouse gas emitting and climate-mitigating as possible. 

It is important to integrate the principles of sustainability strategically from the earliest stages of rebuilding in order to avoid major failures during reconstruction. The key best practices based on experience from recent disasters and catastrophes in Asia should be kept in mind at all stages of reconstruction, summarized below:

1. Learn from experiences, which dealt with effective and efficient reconstruction, and from traditional building technologies which survived disasters. Many mistakes can be avoided by observing and finding out what concepts and, in particular, what construction practices, functioned well before a natural disaster occurred. Traditional knowledge and building practices have often evolved over long periods of trial and error, and are often both practical and resource efficient.

Coron_Green Reconstruction

Green Reconstructio & Energy for Coron & the Visayas Haiyan/Yolanda devastated areas.

2. Establish and maintain a well-functioning project-management process

A well-functioning management process is the backbone for the success of any reconstruction project. Contracts,  roles and responsibilities should be clarified as early as possible.

Flood Proof Residence_ Palafox Associates

Flood Proof Residence, by Palafox Associates

3. Ensure local participation in decision-making processes

The active participation of local stakeholders in crucial decisions throughout the project process fosters a strong sense of ownership and acceptance for the project, and helps to facilitate care and maintenance of buildings following construction. This is especially true if the users are also the owners of the houses; rented-out dwellings tend to deteriorate more quickly than do owner-occupied homes.

La Jala

Climate vulnerable La Jala Community in Coron, Palawan, where informal settlers enroached mangrove areas that are buffer zones for typhoons and storm surges. Who are to blame if they are the first to suffer climate change effects?

Relevant stakeholders – future house users, community leaders, responsible public authorities, service providers, etc. – can deliver important information and provide support that may be crucial to the project’ success and sustainability.

Ideally, relevant stakeholders should be consulted during the early project-definition phase, as well as during planning and implementation phases. This can be done through a stakeholders‟ workshop”, during which invited stakeholders set project criteria and develop ideas.

At this stage, the responsible local governmental reconstruction agency can also be consulted in order to ensure their support.

4. Anchor the project in the local context

Projects should be anchored in the local context by taking any or all of the following measures:

– Exploring the availability of local know-how

– Considering traditional/cultural requirements

– Working together with and not against the local authorities

– Cooperating with local service providers

– Using high-quality local materials when possible

– Building on and optimizing local construction technologies.

La Jala native community

A typical native hut of the Tagbanua tribe of Coron, Palawan, Philippines. Eco friendly? Yes. Climate resilient? Not really. Thankfully, they are built away from the shores.

Anchoring reconstruction projects in the local context can contribute measurably to community buy-in and a project’s success and sustainability. Local institutions and organizations included in the project process are strengthened and improved.

Community Consultation Coron

Community consultation and education by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development.

5. Coordinate with other donors to identify potential synergies

Responsible local authorities should coordinate all ongoing and planned reconstruction activities, at least at community level. In addition, however, project officials should contact other development organizations (international and national) to determine jointly the geographical and social distribution of reconstruction schemes based on local needs. Identifying and monitoring the reconstruction activities of other donor organizations and ensuring your project is complementing, not duplicating, other efforts can save financial and other resources. Normally, there are reasonable opportunities to economize on costs of access roads, water and sanitation systems and other infrastructure. Donor coordination can also help to ensure the equitable distribution of reconstruction benefits to communities, especially to areas that are less politically popular.

Photo via PJ Aranador blog.

Korean donated tents in Estancia, super typhoone devastated town in Northern Iloilo.

6. Determine communication and knowledge-sharing strategy

Maintaining effective communication among all the stakeholders is crucial. Numerous sources have reported incidences of hostility towards development agencies by beneficiaries. There has been a lack of clear and regular communication between implementers and future users about options, plans, actions, responsibilities and difficulties encountered in the course of reconstruction projects. It cannot be overemphasized that all agencies owe beneficiaries the opportunity to know what is being discussed, planned, negotiated, rejected or accepted on their behalves. The internationally accepted guidelines of the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) provide successful lines of communication. (See ALNAP, 2005, An ALNAP Guide for Humanitarian Agencies, Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action, UK.)

It is also important to ensure regular reporting and documentation of positive and negative experiences. This is important not only for any necessary handing-over to future project managers, but also for the sharing of lessons learnt at international and local level.

Photo via PJ Aranador Blog.

Coordination & information dissemination post disaster in Estancia, Iloilo.

7. Develop a risk strategy

Developing a strategy for how to overcome any potential risks to the project is essential. Risk strategies safeguard the project’s continuation, completion and, ultimately, its sustainability.

Strategies should be developed with relevant local stakeholders. The strategies should define how potential obstacles – whether political, economic, security-related or from subsequent disasters – should be tackled.

8. Conduct regular monitoring and evaluation (M&E)

Regular self-monitoring and evaluation is critical for measuring the progress of reconstruction projects. M&E can be carried out in a rather simple fashion by selecting key indicators (amounts of money spent on different activities, amounts of materials used and timeliness of completion of activities) and then collecting measurements and summarizing them on a regular basis (weekly or fortnightly).

If any indicator shows a deviation from the budget or from construction plans, then the cause for the deviation should be identified, so that remedial measures can be taken. In addition, an external evaluation can assist by providing a second and independent assignment on crucial issues. M&E can be complemented with “impact monitoring”, which is used to assess the environmental and social impacts of project activities. Impact monitoring provides valuable information about whether the project is in conformance with best sustainability practices (and if not, how it can be improved). Impact monitoring is also very useful for building the project partners‟ credibility with the local community, national authorities and international donors.

Houses Mangroves_LowRes

Devastated houses of informal settlers along the mangrove area, Coron Bay, Palawan. Learn the lesson: no one should be allowed to build any structure within the buffer zone for storms and typhoons.

9. Choose the lifespan of houses to be built

Selecting temporary or permanent shelter options has a huge influence on the house design as well as the project’s implementation procedures, budget and time-frame. It is important to decide early in planning for how long the houses should last.

 

10. Provide adequate temporary shelters

Reconstruction programs that are seeking to produce quality results require time for realization. While housing projects are being developed, displaced residents need adequate temporary shelters that ensure humane living conditions and enable residents to re-establish life as quickly as possible. Program budgets should anticipate this need.

Photo via PJ Aranador blog.

Temporary tent shelters for homeless victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in Estancia, Iloilo.

11. Consider reusing and recycling temporary housing components for permanent houses to be built in the future components such as well-maintained sanitary and kitchen facilities can be reused in new reconstructed houses; good-quality materials such as steel beams can be reused also.

12. Consider the overall development concerns and priorities of your organization

Most organizations involved in reconstruction activities have internal guidelines and standards for their activities, including environmental policies. Ensuring that your organization development goals, procedures and priorities are integrated into your project from the start can help to align projects with sustainable reconstruction objectives and avoid unnecessary costs.

13. Follow principles of bio-climatic and adaptable design

Buildings should be designed to be thermally comfortable in their climate zone with no or minimal need for mechanical heating, cooling or ventilation. Buildings should also be designed to enable occupants to modify or “tune” their buildings to suit their particular functional requirements. Adaptable design enables this by, for example, promoting strong structural design with flexible interior space-planning.

Coron_Picking up the piecies

What is your local government doing about climate change? Demand good governance. LGUs must implement their Disaster Risk Reduction Management & Local Climate Change Adaptation Plan. https://sstdi.org/tag/disaster-preparedness/

 

Source: Principles of sustainable reconstruction
An excerpt from UNEP Sustainable Building & Climate Initiative
Author: Claudia Schneider
Sustainable Building and Settlement Development Specialist
Skat – Swiss Resource Centre and Consultancies for Development

 

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs  to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.  

PHOTO CREDITS: Coron photos – Al Linsangan III- Calamianes Expeditions; Estancia photos – Pj Aranador Blogspot.

World Travel and Tourism Council Report: Disaster Recovery Lessons from Japan and elsewhere

Coron_Green Reconstruction

Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific was honored to be part of the invite-only World Travel & Tourism Council -WTTC- Global Summit Japan in Sendai & Tokyo. Summit reports started with the Tourism for Tomorrow 2012 Awards & Winners. The following is a re-post from the WTTC 2012 News & updates starting with the First Session in Sendai, Japan.

Disaster Recovery Lessons from Japan- keynote by Norifumi Idee-Japan Tourism Agency

“We are here to hear what we have learnt from the crisis,” said Mr Takamatsu, CEO, Japan Tourism Marketing Company, and session moderator. “The objective of this session is to look at the best ways to manage a crisis with case studies from Japan, but also other countries and the Travel & Tourism industry,” he added.

WTTC Sendai:Disaster Recovery Lessons Moderator Mr. Masako Takamatsu

Given the events of the last decade – from America on September 11 2001 to Japan on 11 March 2011, dealing with the unusual is increasingly becoming business as usual in the Travel & Tourism industry.

According to the Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report published by Impact Forecasting, 2011 was one of the most active years on record in terms of instances of natural catastrophes, so there has never been a more pressing time to consider crisis management and disaster recovery.

WTTC Global Summit Disaster Recovery Lessons from Japan

Japan has learnt a lot since March 2011, Mr Idee, Commissioner, Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism told delegates. “I can tell you that [after the earthquake and tsunami], the government immediately took measures to ensure that the region was safe from radiation and that there was total security regarding food safety.

We have also undertaken a wide range of measures to try encourage a recovery in demand, using high-profile visitors like Lady Gaga to help us in our promotions. And we are grateful to UNWTO and the United Nations generally for issuing reassurances to the world that Japan is open for business. I would like to express my gratitude to them for these measures.

We were delighted to see that WTTC’s latest report suggests that Japan’s Travel & Tourism recovery will be better than expected, with the percentage drop in inbound tourism in 2012 projected to be down in single digits over Japan’s peak tourism year in 2010”.

“Destination Tohoku” campaigns in foreign countries such as the United States help, and we are focusing on the travel trade – tour operator and travel agents – to communicate our messages. But we are promoting domestic as well as inbound tourism.

Disaster Lessons from Japan Railway - infrastructure and transport sector

Mr Ogata, Vice Chairman,  East Japan Railway Company told the Summit that in 50 years of operating the Shinkansen (Japanese “bullet-train”) there had never been an associated fatal casualty. JR East is the largest railway company in Japan – with 4,700 miles of network and 17 million passengers a day on 13,000 trains. Its top priority is safety.

Many lessons from past experiences of earthquakes, e.g. the use of reinforced pillarsearly earthquake detection systems, seismometers, preventing trains from large-scale deviations, plus the education and training of its staff have secured a dramatic decrease in accidents. But in addition to taking countermeasures, it is essential to utilise innovative risk assessments. As a result, on 11 March 2011, there were no customer fatalities or injuries – though because of aftershocks, it took 50 days to restore full operation.

There were lots of lessons learned: e.g. even more early detection systems needed – plus better evacuation systems, and a strengthening of electrification masts.

Bert van Walbeek, Chairman of PATA’s Rapid Recovery Taskforce, and Managing Director, The Winning Edge gave the Summit “Five Points in Five Minutes”:

• Educate and train all stakeholders • Accept joint responsibility

• Respect and understand ‘Mother Nature’

• Co-operate on travel advisories

• We all need to work together to address the problem, in terms of crisis management and prevention.

UNWTO Risk and Crisis Management Coordinator Dirk Glaesser

Dirk Glaesser, Coordinator, Risk and Crisis Management, UNWTO reminded the Summit that whilst crises do occur, it’s the way we prepare for them and manage them that is critical. UNWTO works not just through United Nations systems but also through TERN – the Tourism Emergency Research Network, which groups together public and private sector organisations and associations involved in tourism. “The whole purpose of TERN is sharing knowledge and best practice, and communicating between partner organisations/associations and the outside world, through media,.

It’s all about planning and preparedness,” said Glaesser, “the importance of correct assumptions and strategic contingency planning.”

WTTC Sendai Summit Disaster Recovery Panel Discussion

In the Panel Discussion which followed, Raymond N Bickson, Managing Director & CEO, Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, said: “ Whether natural disaster or terrorist attack or other man-made disasters, including health concerns like H1N1 and bird flu, the crisis management tools are all very similar across the board. What helps recovery is the public and private sectors working together – plus India has its own national chapter of WTTC and this has helped us enormously.”

Robert Laurence Noddin, CEO and Representative in Japan, AIU Insurance Company, Japan Branch, told the story of the Japanese crisis from the insurance industry standpoint: “ We had to overcome or deal with three major issues: impact on transportation, getting support to customers and staff; and the availability of data and how to usecontroland communicate it. The sheer scale of the disaster meant that there was huge damage, so we needed to call on an unprecedented number of support staff to assess the damages”.

The Summit then listened attentively to the story as told by Mrs. Noriko Abe, the “Okami” of Minami-Sanriku Hotel Kanyo.  Her story was a wonderful example of a member of the Travel & Tourism industry taking the initiative to help the community – in the aftermath some people had no accommodation, no food, no clothes. How to help them? “We had to help them. There was total confusion and incomprehension as to why this had happened to them. We offered support to 600 citizens – we started a school inside the hotel. Without help, we risked some of the younger Japanese leaving the community to go and live elsewhere. Or even committing suicide out of desperation, especially young mothers. Soour help in fact was a way of rebuilding the community and giving people a reason for living”. On the basis of this closing presentation, the first session of the first day of the Sendai Forum drew the conclusion thatTourism is not often seen as the cement of community solidarity, but it should be. It’s something very human, and can really help when crises strike.

WTTC Global Summit Japan 2012

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.- SSTDI  supports the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Environment Initiative. SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Easy to be Eco! Ways to be environment-friendly

Foreword. Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

‪‎Sustainable tourism‬ development and stewardship‬. Open to all interested on triple bottom line‬ & ‪‎social enterprises.

‪‎Sustainable tourism‬ development and stewardship‬. Open to all interested on triple bottom line‬ & ‪‎social enterprises.

Be the change that you want to see in the world” – Ghandi

Let’s start at home. Do your part to help mitigate effects of climate change, for sustainability and resilience of your ‘hood or city.

There is so much hoopla about the “rape of the ocean”, switching off lights on “Earth Hour”. We get overwhelmed by disaster news such as super typhoons, landslides due to deforestation and mountains of garbage and plastic during floods, that we are just getting confounded and confused by the day on how we can start doing our part for the earth.

Flooded coastal_village. Climate change + global warming.

We complain no end about smog and pollution, filthy floods on typhoons aftermaths, brownouts/blackouts, water shortage, epidemics and uncollected garbage, yet we do not even know where to begin to solve these “environmental” and basic utilities issues.

Every election, we try to choose public officials who are supposed to bring progress to our cities, but end up mostly with broken promises. Then, when a natural catastrophe happens, it is the only time we see them again, “working to the rescue” and aid their constituents, but mostly for publicity and ratings. We are supposed to know better.

So, how do we really begin to do our part, in being eco-friendly and help protect the environment? If Kids found organization to save endangered species and college students become “Green Ambassadors”, for sure we can do it, too! Simple, we begin at home, with our families and with our own neighborhood. Here are some easy, no-brainer, beginner eco steps:

Live frugally. Just buy the basics.

1. Live frugally.
Eco also means economic, and in these hard times, we have to learn to live simply. We don’t have to wait for a disaster (such as the Japan earthquake) to start saving electricity, water; go prudent on clothes or shoes shopping and the like. Just buy the basics.

2. Start your car pool and commute wisely. Save up on gas, parking expenses and carbon emissions with commuting. Avoid taking taxis and you will be surprised how much transport savings you will have at the end of the month.

Reduce toxins. Identify and segregate.

3. Practice proper waste segregation. Here in Tokyo, garbage will not be collected if you don’t separate correctly Avoid using plastics, BYOB. Bring your own bag. Not just to the supermarket but every time you shop. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Be an eco-model among your neighbors and teach them as well. Clean and green your neighborhood.

4. Save electricity. Un-plug all appliances including your PC when not in use. Best to use power strips for multiple appliances and un-plug these so you cut-off most if not, all at the same time. You will see a dip your electricity bill when you start doing this.

5. Save on water. During rainy season, practice rain catchment and store clean rainwater to wash your car or water your garden. This is big water savings for the next dry season!

Rainwater catchment systems

6. When going on a trip, start travelling responsibly. Pack light to avoid excess baggage fees and carbon emissions. Travel to cultural and natural sights but make sure your activities do not destroy the traditions and environment you visit. Start giving back to communities whose natural and traditional resources are threatened or endangered, or even join volunteer trips.

The Coron Initiative – volunteer vacation

7. Last but not the least, get educated, enlightened, pro-active in being green. Make sure to learn at least one sustainable tip a day. There are millions of resources online.  Yahoo Green is a great portal with many useful sources on living green,  nature, food & health, recycling, energy, technology and other essential topics. You can also follow us on Twitter for more on sustainability practices.

These may be small and simple steps, but if done altogether with your ‘hood and city, and serve as an example for your province or region, more people will take notice and before you know it, millions in the country will follow suit. When we make a  difference in our own small way, collectively, this will make a big impact and perhaps, we can convince our so called “public servants”, to start doing their jobs, too.

To know more about green, eco-friendly and sustainable practices for your community, join our Society!

Disaster Preparedness and Management, a must in good governance

Foreword. Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Coron_Green Reconstruction

“Do we have to wait until a disaster overwhelms us before we make the radical changes necessary to protect our world for future generations? If we act now there is much that can be saved which will otherwise disappear forever.” ~ John Gummer

Know the Philippine disaster hazards and corresponding agencies in charge.

 

In these times of global warming and climate change, one is never prepared enough for the mighty forces of nature such as Japan’s Great East Earthquake, in some cases, man-made disasters, such as the Fukushima Nuclear Plant or the latest super typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines, where to date reconstruction and recovery is yet to be fully implemented .

Start at home. Now. For those especially in vulnerable and hazard zones like Japan & Philippines, everyone must be aware and be prepared for any disaster, natural or man-made.

Here are the six basic disaster preparedness at home that you must ensure:

1. Check safety around your house

  • Organize flowerpots and propane tanks to prevent toppling, and check the intensity of block walls and roof tiles.Before disaster occurs: Check your house for safety measures!

Before a disaster occurs: Check your house for safety measures! The DOST- PHIVOLCS call for compliance to building code after the earthquakes in the Philippines. Read article here. 

2. Discuss with your family and household member about disaster measures:

Discuss disaster preparedness with your family. Seriously.

3. Prevent injuries caused by broken glasses. Prepare slippers and sneakers close at hand. For a blackout at night, keep them in place. This is a simple and no-brainer practical prevention for further injuries.

Be ready with rescue equipments.

4. Prepare rescue equipments. Prepare a pinch, saw, scoop, jack, flashlight, etc. These might be expensive, so share with your neighbors the cost and the use.

5. Prepare an emergency pack/ After a disaster, supply of essentials may stop for a few days. Plan for quantity of stockpiles and storage for essentials to be taken out in case of emergency.

Essential emergency supplies list

  • Food and water (roughly 3 days of food for entire family and 3 liters of water per person a day)

    Each family MUST HAVE: Survival Pack.

  • First-aid kit, medicine, etc.
  • Portable radio, flashlight, batteries
  • Cash and valuables
  • Clothes

6.  Join Disaster Prevention drills

Ain't done the drill yet? Just DO IT.

Ain’t done the drill yet? Just do it.

In preparation for an emergency, create a cooperative structure with neighborhoods on a routine basis.

  1. Discussion
  2. Join disaster prevention resident groups
  3. Join disaster prevention drills

If you don’t have, organize one with your neighborhood or community pronto!

“We are now running out of time, and the question now is not what is happening to the climate, but how bad will it be before the world starts doing enough?”  ~ Jonathon Porritt

The Philippines is situated along two major tectonic plates of the world – the EURASIAN and PACIFIC Plates. Aside from this, it has 300 volcanoes – 22 as active, an average of 20 quakes per day, 20 typhoons a year, five (5) of these destructive and 36,289 kilometers of coastline vulnerable to tsunami.  The responsibility for leadership rests on the provincial governor, city and town mayors and Barangay chairmen in their respective areas.

Know more about the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Center and how it should work for you and your community!

Learn the lessons of past disasters. The Philippines is not short of earlier numerous grants, programs and initiatives in disaster education and management. Share this useful Preparedness Procedures before, during and after  Earthquake with your family and community. Do positive. Demand from your public officials on the information and skills. Seek the mass media support and use social media in raising awareness, care and vigilance.

Source:  Tokyo Metropolitan Government Disater Prevention Information and Philvocs.

“First, climate change is the greatest long-term threat faced by humanity… All countries will be affected, but the poorest countries will be hit hardest. Secondly, the costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of action.” ~ David Miliband

 

Sustainability 101. Towards sustainable cities and communities

Foreword. Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Greening a destination – for the tourism industry,  how do you make a city or host community sustainable? For real estate developers, how do you build an eco-town or sustainable subdivision? Check out the essence of a green cities and environmentally sound sites.

Sustainable Tourism, Socio Cultural Responsbility & Environmental Conservation Capacity Building & Training Program.

The Coron Initiative – Sustainable Tourism development and stewardship for Coron & Calamianes Islands.

 

For simplicity, we are using the UN’s definition of sustainability: A sustainable society meets the needs of the present without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainability Triple Bottom Line graphic: People, Planet, Profit.

Triple Bottom Line graphic: People, Planet, Profit.

According to Wikipedia a sustainable city, is a city designed with consideration of environmental impact, inhabited by people dedicated to minimize the use of energy, water and food, and production of heat, air pollution – CO2, methane and water pollution.

Cities or towns compete with each other globally for the attention of investors. Almost every municipality sites sustainability as one of its key targets, but it is often not clear as to how this declaration translates into action, or if the actions that are taken go beyond green window dressing.

Bacolod City: green or green window dressing?

The first step when steering towards urban sustainability is visible greening: planting trees, promoting subsistence gardening or saving wetlands for birds.

Will DSB – Don Salvador Benedicto keep it green? Keep off greed?

The next steps environmental measures which bring social and economic benefits. Health concerns must put emphasis on quality of water, provision of ecological waste management and cleaner energy.

The Coron Initiative – the framework to a sustainable destination

Waste management can also turn into business, when sorting produces material for local crafts and bio waste becomes a source of energy. Clogged sewers lead to a ban on plastic bags while lessons about ecosystem services are learned when rivers are cleaned and watersheds are managed in an effort to prevent flooding.

Public Market trash, Bacolod City.

Bacolod City’s Public Market trash- can be a source of CLEAN ENERGY!

 

Climate change & environmental degradation effects in Boracay Island

Climate change & environmental degradation effects in Boracay Island

Almost every city in the world is dealing with an influx of people from different ethnic backgrounds and cultural events play an important part in creating a sense of pride in the community and are promoted as a means to support minoritiesCultural heritage is increasingly understood as a resource to be kept alive, both for visitors to cities and for the people who live there.

Bacolod City’s Electric Masskara – a sustainable festival? NOT.

In the cities that try to fake it, the grassroots heritage aspects and authenticity disappear as events grow bigger and more commercial. Major events that require substantial investment, such as festivals and sporting events  do not always enhance quality of life for local communities after the television cameras have left.

In Japan: sustainable living with environmental risk IS the way of life. It takes a lot of discipline and culture of respect.

Some cities are aware of the links between global targets and local actions. Sustainability measures are taken at the local level, including investment in renewable energy and efficiency requirements for local buildings. More advanced cities broaden the focus to cover social impact and how sustainable development policy is delivered. Watch Tokyo solid waste & recycling management video. Incredible!

Sustainable city, Seoul – rapid urban development with best green practices: transport, energy, water efficiency, sincere sustainability solutions with political will.

Refurbishment of existing buildings becomes big business, public transport systems are improved and sustainable public procurement practices are introduced.

U.N. Shanghai Manual for Sustainable Cities

Green Shanghai – origin of the “Shanghai Manual”-U.N.’s Sustainability capacity building.

Shanghai Manual – helping leaders of the world’s cities use integrated urban planning, management, financing and technology to green their economies and build climate and economic resilience.

While all these aspects constitute progress, it is misguided to think that they combine to create urban sustainability. True systemic change is missing from the picture. Progress to date has been far too slow and incremental changes to business as usual don’t go far enough.

Boracay White Beach (mis)management_Band aid solution and lack of sustainability policy resulting to environmental destruction

The tough road ahead will have to include holistic visionsintegrated planning and brave strategies to implement them. For this to become a reality, the language of money must become more about sustainabilityrenewable energy sources must be fully integrated into urban infrastructure and the pedestrian must become king of the road. Source: The Guardian

Visiting Shanghai’s Urban Planning Museum.Shanghai established eco city framework in 2010.

DO POSITIVE.  Learn the lessons from disasters: take action. Demand from your political representatives to do their job, work towards healthy, clean environment and community. For Metro Manila, hope is seen at the horizon with the Green Print 2030, and people should take action towards livability and sustainability.

Typhoon Sendong in Northern Mindanao aftermath.

Join our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. SSTDI- advocating green, eco-friendly and responsible travel. Learn more about greening your destination and how to make your home community sustainable. Promote your eco destination,  hotel, resort, lodging, restaurant, festival, event venue or hospitality services, spa or sports, transport, real estate development or any tourism-related enterprise espousing green or sustainable practices through our Green Travel Exchange.  Travel with a difference in Green Getaways  such as ourNegros Agri-Tours, discover Danjugan Island, a true ecotourism destination, Don Salvador Benedicto’ (DSB) for a health and wellness getaway, and Care for Coron Island-  meaningful journeys that touches the soul!

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Waste not, want not: ecological solid waste management

ECO series on Sustainability: Solid Waste and Climate change

 “According to a new U.N. report, the global warming outlook is much worse than originally predicted. Which is pretty bad when they originally predicted it would destroy the planet.” –Jay Leno

 

Climate Change & Solid Waste

Garbage = GreenHouseGas emissions. Photo from King County Solid Waste Division.

Let’s start in our homes. Much had been reported, blogged, FB posted and twitted about  the worsening problem of solid waste in Metro Manila and other urban centers in the Philippines. There had been scores of seminars, conferences and fora  conducted to “discuss” ways of solving the problem but not fully implementing them. For how long will it take the country to attain a zero waste economy, no one knows. But, one thing is sure – time is running out and WE need to act. NOW.

Bag-O Plastics recycling plastic into crocheted bags

Bag-O Plastics. Recycling plastic to crocheted bags in Bago City, Negros Occidental

 

Why WE?

The answer is simple, but at the same time, tricky. Consider this: Metro Manila’s solid waste based on studies made by the National Solid Waste Management Commission Secretariat at the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), is estimated that per capita wasteproduction daily is 0.5 kg; meaning every person living in the metropolis generates half a kilo of garbage a day. With an estimated population of10.5 million, total waste generated in Metro Manila alone could run up to 5,250 metric tons per day, or 162,750 metric tons per month, a total of1.95 million metric tons per year. Definitely, a whole lotta waste!

Let’s start in our HOMES. WE must be part of the SOLUTION by reducing our waste. In Tokyo, if our garbage is not segregated, they will NOT be collected AND we will be fined!

Our daily waste, our daily RESPONSIBILITY. Based on the EMB study, only about 73% of the 5,250 metric tons of waste generated daily arecollected by dump trucks hired by our respective local government units – that is assuming our LGUs are dedicated to their duties to taxpayers. The remaining 27% of daily waste or about 1,417.5 metric tons end up in canals, vacant spaces, street corners, market places, rivers and prohibited places!

Garbage = bad health!

We deserve to live in a cleaner environment, a healthy family, neighborhood, city.

This explains why WE need to act. As we produce garbage ourselves, we are part of the problem. But, we can also be part of the solution by reducing our contribution to the worsening waste crisis and help mitigate climate change effects.

 Why NOW?

This measure is in fact 1o years too late. However, at the rate we are producing waste we will soon be having more of our human-made mountains of garbage amidst us or worse, find ourselves buried in our own trash!

Bacolod City - cleanest & greenest city? NOT!

Bacolod City has 19 dumps like this – cleanest & greenest city? NOT!

The catastrophic disasters and major typhoons that brought about tragedy and casualties not to mention filthy garbage in its course, should strengthen our resolve to do something about our wasteful lifestyles.

Talks about landfill as an alternative engineering solution to the garbage problem for the so-called residual waste, is fine. But where to site the landfill is another issue.

We all deserve a cleaner & greener environment

Mandatory SEGREGATION & 3RS should be done primarily at the SOURCE: household, institutional, industrial, commercial and agricultural sources.

 The most important reason why we have to act now on the worsening solid waste problem is their impact on human health and climate change. Health is a basic human right. We all deserve to live in a cleaner environment- a healthy family, neighborhood and nation. The only way to satisfy these needs is to do away with garbage that spreads diseases in our homes and communities.

Landfills and rudimentary incinerators contribute to global climate change by destroying resources. Methane produced from decomposing garbage in landfill is one of the most powerful greenhouse gasses and is 23 times stronger than CO2 in capturing heat. The less we throw away, the less garbage ends up in landfills, the less methane they produce.

Take ACTION. Get your public officials DO THEIR JOB on implementing Eco Solid Waste Management as mandated by RA 9003!

Take ACTION. Get your public officials DO THEIR JOB on implementing Eco Solid Waste Management as had been mandated by RA 9003!

Republic Act No. 9003 Revisited.  RA 9003 or the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act” provided the legal framework for the Philippines’ systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management program that should ensure protection of public health and the environment more than 10 years ago. It underscored, the need to create the necessary institutional mechanisms and incentives, as well asimposes penalties for acts in violation of any of its provisions.

 How R.A. No. 9003 should HAVE worked for your community:

  • Creation of the National Solid Waste Management Commission(NSWMC), the National Ecology Center (NEC) and the Solid Waste Management Board in every province, city and municipality in the country.
  • The Solid Waste Management Board of provinces, cities and municipalities shall be responsible for the development of their respective solid waste management plans.
  • Mandatory segregation of solid waste to be conducted primarily at the source such as household, institutional, industrialcommercialand agricultural sources;
  • Setting of minimum requirements to ensure systematic collection and transport of wastes;
  • Establishment of reclamation programs and buy-back centers for recyclable and toxic materials;
  • Promotion of eco-labeling in local products and services;
  • Prohibition on non-environmentally acceptable products and packaging;
  • Establishment of Materials Recovery Facility in every barangay or cluster of barangays;
  • Prohibition against the use of open dumps;
  • Setting of guidelines/criteria for the establishment of controlleddumps and sanitary landfills;
  • Provision of rewards, incentives both fiscal and non-fiscal, financial assistance, grants and the like to encourage LGUs and the general public to undertake effective solid waste management.

How can we help solve the solid waste problem? Are you doing it now?

Adopt the 3Rs of Ecological Waste Management: REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE.

Adopt the 3Rs of Ecological Waste Management: REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE.

 There are many ways to do it. A highly recommended formula is to adopt the 3Rs of Ecological Waste Management: REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE.

In addition, let us avoid doing these PROHIBITED ACTS under the law:

– Littering, throwing, dumping of waste materials in public places like roads, sidewalks, canals, parks and vacant lots;
– Open burning of solid waste;
– Allowing the collection of non-segregated or unsorted waste;
– Open dumping or burying of biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials in flood-prone areas;
– Mixing of source-separated recyclable material with other solid waste in any vehicle, box, container or receptacle used in solid waste collection or disposal;
– Manufacture, distribution or use of non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials;
– Establishment or operation of open dumps; and
– Importation of consumer products packaged in non-environmentally acceptable materials.

Last but not the least, do positive. Take Action. Demand from your political representatives and public officials to provide the basic services as mandated by RA 9003.

Waste not, want not. Prov. Cliché If you do not waste anything, you will always have enough.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Source and further information: The National Solid Waste Management Commission Secretariat -ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT BUREAU, DENR Philippines; King County Solid Waste Division. Meguro Solid Waste Managment, Tokyo, Japan.

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