January 31, 2023

The City Environment and Parks Management Office will set up more pocket and vertical gardens around Baguio, especially in areas identified as critical for high levels of air pollution.
In the management committee meeting Feb. 9, Cepmo head Rhenan Diwas reported to Mayor Benjamin Magalong the department’s plan to establish more green areas as part of its efforts to sustain the city’s good air quality recorded last year.
In a report covering years 2013 to 2019, Diwas said the general ambient air quality in Baguio was classified as “fair,” or a generally acceptable level of air quality, but those with asthma, allergies, and other respiratory diseases are not recommended to venture outdoors with this kind of air quality because of the presence of pollutants.
It was only in 2020 when Baguio was able to attain a “good” ambient air quality.
Diwas has considered the 2020 data as a product of extraordinary circumstances brought about by restricted travels ordered by the national government.
He said his department’s goal is to maintain the 2020 ambient air quality even when more vehicles are allowed on the road.
Measures that will be adopted include continuing roadside vehicle emission tests and setup of green buffer zones at eight critical areas of the city – between City Hall and Baguio City Police Office general headquarters; Bell Church and Happy Homes-Old Lucban, both at Magsaysay Avenue; Camp 7, Kennon Road, Malcolm Square, Pacdal circle, University of the Philippines Baguio campus, and at the Veteran’s Park along Harrison Road.
Diwas said pocket or vertical gardens will be set up at said areas to help absorb particulate matter emitted by motor vehicles.
Other air pollution control measures in the pipeline are transfer of jeepney loading areas, rerouting of vehicles, inventory of the types of greenhouse gas emissions common in Baguio, and display of air quality monitoring results to the public. – Rimaliza A. Opiña