Act Now Before China Air Pollution Crisis Happens to PHL – Legarda

August 26, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today said the Philippines should take bolder action in reducing carbon emissions following a report that air pollution in China is killing about 4,000 people a day.


“We should act quickly to prevent such an incident – severe air pollution – from happening in our country. The faster we act, the greater the chances are of avoiding the most debilitating effects of extreme weather events,” Legarda stressed, citing the urgent need to shift to cleaner energy sources.


Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said we have to learn from the example of China whose pollution levels cause more than a million premature deaths per year.


“Let us not make the situation worse by ignoring the health risks and economic costs of the worsening levels of air pollution. Producing clean energy from wind, water and other renewable power sources must be the priority of the government because they are not only sustainable, but they also lessen the country’s dependence on so-called dirty energy like coal,” she said.


According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is the world’s biggest environmental problem. About eight million people worldwide die each year because of poor air quality.


The Senator sadly noted that the Philippines is not moving quickly enough to implement the National Renewable Energy Program in terms of prioritizing renewable energy sources, and instead, would even allow more coal-fired power plants to be constructed in the next few years.


Since 2010, 21 coal-fired power plant projects have been granted an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The current energy mix according to the Department of Energy puts coal with the highest share at 32% in terms of installed sources, and the share could go up as high as 70% by 2030 if no interventions are made.


“We must decrease our dependence on coal, otherwise we only contribute to our own vulnerability to climate change. We have laws such as the Clean Air Act and the Renewable Energy Law, which if implemented properly, will greatly improve air quality in our country. The Philippines, as third highest in the world in terms of vulnerability to weather-related extreme events, and following its acceptance of the presidency this year of the Climate Vulnerability Forum, must lead by example among developing countries through its strong commitment towards sustainable development, including promoting clean energy sources,” said Legarda.