"Raising public awareness is a CAI-Asia priority and BAQ 2006 has brought together two dozen international and domestic journalists for a two day training workshop before covering the meeting."

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Press Releases
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By BAQ media team

Yogyakarta, December 15, 2006: The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) handed over funds today for Yogyakarta’s reconstruction and rehabilitation effort following the earthquake disaster last May.

The funds, raised by participants during the Better Air Quality (BAQ) Workshop 2006 here, were given to Gadjah Mada University (GMU), which will disburse and monitor their use and provide a detailed financial report to CAI-Asia.

The head of CAI-Asia’s Secretariat, Cornie Huizenga, said total funds raised during the BAQ 2006 Workshop would reach about US$7,000.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Board of Researchers of the Center for Transportation and Logistic Studies of GMU, Danang Parikesit, said the fundraising period will last until June 2007.

"More people will be able to participate through this six-month period of fundraising," he said.

A powerful earthquake hit Yogyakarta and Central Java in late May 2006. The disaster killed over 6,000 people and caused millions of dollars in damage. Although the government and city have made impressive efforts to provide critical relief to survivors, more funds are needed.

Parikesit says that a reconstruction and rehabilitation package can cost US$3,000 and that one affected area may need more than one package.

CAI-Asia and Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment, which hosted BAQ 2006, are participating in the YOGYA BANGKIT! or YOGYA REVIVAL! campaign launched by the City and Province of Yogyakarta to support reconstruction activities in certain areas. These are Pager Gunung Village in Piyungan District, Bantul Regency, and the Kotagede, a major tourist destination.

Pager Gunung village, 12 kilometers south of Yogyakarta, was destroyed by the earthquake. Homes were reduced to rubble; families lost everything they owned. Some 528 villagers need communal water and sanitation facilities.

Kotagede is a heritage district with remains of the Ancient Mataram Kingdom and traditional Joglo houses as well as unique Kalang houses and kampong of sterling silver crafters. Many traditional houses are severely damaged and some 300 families homeless.

Donations, coordinated and overseen by GMU, will contribute towards restoring facilities in Pager Gunung and reconstructing small scale handicraft workshops at the Kota Gede area.

The BAQ Secretariat is authorized to accept donations via credit card, bank transfer, or cash. To pay by credit card, download and print out the credit card form and fax it to the BAQ Secretariat. To pay by bank transfer, send your donation to the following bank account:

Account Name: Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities
Saving Dollar Account No.: 5378-00202-0
SWIFT Code: PCIBPHMM

Bank name: Equitable PCIBank ADB Avenue Ortigas Branch
Bank address: Ground Floor, Robinson's Equitable Tower, ADB Avenue corner Poveda Street, Ortigas Center, Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines

Media enquiries to Cornie Huizenga at [email protected] or Ian Gill, BAQ media coordinator, at [email protected]

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By BAQ media team

Yogyakarta, December 15, 2006: The criteria for choosing the air quality champions of Asia were explained by Prof. Frank Murray PhD, Head of the Award Committee of the BAQ 2006, today.

Prof. Murray, an Associate Professor in Environmental Science at Murdoch University, Perth, Australia, said that the criteria included having vision and wanting to make a difference through major initiatives. Other criteria include leadership and an ability to effectively implement initiatives.

Another important factor in choosing a champion was whether people and organizations took a risk to achieve a successful outcome and whether failure and loss of face was a real possibility.

"Some 30 candidates were nominated, many of them outstanding, and clearly there is a long list of high achievement in air quality improvements in Asia, with many people and organizations deserving of recognition. However, we decided to make only four awards to outstanding individuals and organizations who met our criteria," he said.

The four BAQ 2006 champions are:
1. Dr Supat Wangwongwatana, Director General of the Pollution Control Department of Thailand, for his outstanding dedication to improving air quality in Thailand and support for other Asian countries.
2. Sara Stenhammar, Senior Adviser, Environmental Matters, of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), for the organization’s contribution to addressing air pollution in Asia.
3. Sutiyoso, Governor of Jakarta, Indonesia, for his leadership position in addressing urban transportation issues.
4. Justice Hamid Ali Shah, of the Lahore High Court, Pakistan, for his contribution to clean air in Lahore.

Media enquiries to Cornie Huizenga at [email protected] or Ian Gill, BAQ media coordinator, at [email protected]

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By the BAQ Media Team

Yogyakarta, 16 December 2006. Congestion, pollution and the lack of an efficient public transport system in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, prompted Governor Sutiyoso to establish a US$49 million bus rapid transit (BRT) system in 2004. It has been so successful that, two years later, it is being rapidly expanded.

Surveys indicate that 14 % of bus passengers used to drive cars. Some 80% of people in one survey said they are willing to use the bus system if it is within their reach.

The Transjakarta Busway, Asia’s biggest BRT, uses dedicated lanes and is less prone to traffic jams. It has been hailed as a popular, locally funded way to encourage travelers to use public transport. It began operations in February 2004 amid stiff opposition -- but its success silenced critics. The system carries 100,000 passengers a day, three times the number when it started. It is so popular that six corridors will be added in the next three years.

The experience shows a growing interest in BRT systems across Asia. Their administrations are motivated by congestion, pollution, failure of older transport networks and rising public demand for cleaner and more efficient transport. Compared to rail-based systems, BRTs are cheaper, faster to put in place and run, more flexible and employ more people.

They follow the European model where systems have been operating for decades. "BRTs provide practical transport and reduce congestion and pollution in inner cities," says Siegfried Rupprecht of Rupprecht Consult, an agency that runs a program called CIVITAS in Europe.

Many Asian cities have started putting integrated urban transport systems into place. BRT systems are becoming popular, whereas an earlier focus had been on rail-based systems. Systems are now being integrated, whereas they used to run in isolation.

Singapore, for example, uses a mix of buses, metro rail and light rail, though buses dominate with 280 routes and 3,400 vehicles, says Loh Chow Kuang, Deputy Director, LTA Academy, Land Transport Authority, Singapore.

In Frankfurt, the transport system includes buses and trams that run 60,000 km and carry 330,000 passengers daily. This surface transport is linked to the underground metro system. It didn’t come easy, though, says Traffiq’s CEO, Hans-Jorg Von Berlepsch. "Tariff harmonization was the main issue in creating this system. It was only possible due to a strong political will."

Thirty per cent of India’s population lives in cities but this is projected to rise to 60% by 2050. Its cities will have widely distributed residential and commercial centres, so the European model, where people live in the suburbs and work in the city centre, will not work. India aims to encourage BRTs, says Shreekant Gupta, Director of the National Institute of Urban Affairs. "We have a mix of financial incentives, assistance, regulatory and enforcement mechanisms to create public transport systems," she says. Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Pune are some of the cities where BRT systems are being developed.

China is also considering developing a public transport system with buses and trams as the major modes. This will also harmonize the development of transport and land use. It will also promote a more balanced and rational use of motor vehicles, says Leilei Liu from the China Academy of Transportation Sciences, Ministry of Communications.

Asian cities can also draw on the experiences of Latin America, where Caracas, Bogota and Mexico City have successful BRT networks.

BRT systems have the advantage of using newer vehicles. New engine and fuel technology has reduced pollution from diesel engines, the major source of urban air pollution.

Political support also exists, in response to public demand for cleaner air and better transport. BRT systems have a clear role in helping the region’s mega cities improve quality of life for their citizens.

Media enquiries to Cornie Huizenga at [email protected] or Ian Gill, BAQ media coordinator, at [email protected]

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By the BAQ Media Team

Yogyakarta, 14 December, 2006: A $10,000 annual award will be given to individuals or organizations over the next three years for outstanding Inspection & Maintenance work, BAQ 2006 officials announced today.

The award, will be funded by MAHA Machinenbau Haldenwang, a private company based in southern Germany which makes testing and homologation equipment for emissions, brakes, lights and tyres. In addition, the winner will visit MAHA’s factory in Germany, said Klaus Burger, Sales Director of MAHA.

Robust and sophisticated inspection and maintenance (I&M) systems can reduce vehicle emissions in Asia cities by 80% even if traffic volumes double over the next few years, says John Rogers, Director of Trafalgar, an I&M consultancy firm.

I&M attacks the most serious sources of air pollution, says Mr. Rogers. "It needs to be sophisticated enough to catch the 10% of the most polluting vehicles. It also has to be robustly implemented to ensure that vehicle owners comply with air quality and emissions standards."
Such systems are particularly relevant to Asia where many vehicle fleets are old and have an extremely low turnover, says Mr. Rogers. Emissions from badly maintained vehicles can be 50-100 times more toxic than from well-maintained ones.

Asia is making good progress in addressing pollution for new vehicles by tightening standards for emissions and fuels but, ironically, relatively little is being done to address emissions from in-use vehicles. Incentives and penalties are two ways to build public awareness of the need for better I&M and the new MAHA award is an incentive.

"I am delighted with this initiative as it will lead to an increased focus on I&M and may galvanize I&M policy makers and practitioners to take bold steps to improve I&M," says Cornie Huizenga, Head of CAI-Asia secretariat.

I&M systems in most of Asia are full of leaks, says Mr. Rogers. An owner faced with high repair costs and a large fine for running a polluting vehicle often would rather bribe the inspector for a certificate than comply with rules. Other problems include old and non-standardised equipment. Inspection involves checking vehicles for roadworthiness and sending them to a workshop for maintenance. Efficient maintenance, often involving only simple repairs, can cut pollution levels from older vehicles by 80 %.

An effective I&M programme needs to be technically competent, well-enforced and well-audited. It has to use dynamometers for testing and only equipment that has been calibrated and standardized. It needs to be preceded by an awareness drive to build public support.

Timeliness is crucial. If the I&M programme fails to win public confidence the first time, it will be twice as hard to do so the next time, says Mr. Rogers. This has proved the case in many Asian cities. In India, for example, the only prescribed I&M procedure involves pollution checking. The equipment is neither standardised nor calibrated and operators seldom know how to use it.

"We have suggested to the Indian government that a privately operated system that is computerised and networked through computers will be far more efficient than the method currently in force," says N.V. Iyer, Technical Adviser to Bajaj Auto Limited.

Media enquiries to Cornie Huizenga at [email protected] or Ian Gill, BAQ media coordinator, at [email protected]

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By the BAQ Media Team

YOGYAKARTA, 15 December 2006: Pakistan High Court Judge Hamid Ali Shah today received the Air Quality Champion Award for his work in improving air quality in the city of Lahore.

Lahore is the second largest city in Pakistan and its air quality challenges stem largely from its transport system, a mix of metro-buses, mini-buses and two-stroke auto rickshaws. Justice Shah identified the 40,000-odd rickshaws as one of the most important sources of pollution.

The first step in the Judge’s campaign was to phase out rickshaws and replace them with 4-stroke CNG powered vehicles. For this, a commission set up by the High Court, devised a loan scheme for those who need to buy a new rickshaw. This involves a "green fund," through which two banks provide soft loans.

The second step is to convert public transport buses running on diesel to CNG. The commission plans to oversee this and ensure that the work is complete by the end of 2007. Buses will be converted so they are Euro-2-compliant.

Justice Shah realized that decrees alone are not sufficient to improve air quality. He needed to carry public opinion with him. For this, he instituted a commission with members from the public, vehicle manufacturers, dealers, the government, police and the environment board.

"Phasing out three-wheelers will obviously affect the poor who own them. So I called all stakeholders to discuss modalities," he says. "We decided that the decision should be implemented in stages. Instead of banning them straightaway, the two-stroke rickshaw and diesel buses will be phased out. As this is a step-by-step approach, the poor people will be given a chance to adjust."

Justice Shah wants to see the programme replicated in Pakistan. The country has seven large cities where air quality is a serious problem and need CNG-powered four-stroke autos and buses. "I am sure if we succeed in this program, other cities will follow," he says.

Justice Hamid Ali Shah was born on June 10, 1956. He was an advocate in the High Court in 1983 and in the Supreme Court in 1994. He comes from a family which is active in advocacy for education and literacy.

Media enquiries to Cornie Huizenga at [email protected] or Ian Gill, BAQ media coordinator, at [email protected]

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By BAQ Media Team

Yogyakarta, 15 December 2006: The Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) today received an award as a 2006 Air Quality Management Champion.

The award, given by the Better Air Quality (BAQ) 2006 organizing committee, was received by Sara Stenhammar, SIDA’s Stockholm-based senior adviser on Environmental Matters.

"This award recognizes SIDA’s work to improve urban air quality, especially in the transport sector," she said. "SIDA’s main aim is to improve the lives of poor people. The award also reflects CAI-Asia’s appreciation for contributions of Swedish people through SIDA."

Ms. Stenhammar is a passionate environmentalist who grew up on a Swedish farm. "I still spend a lot of time in the midst of nature. It relaxes me and helps me recuperate from the stresses of urban life. I am also interested in the environment because I want to help retain the earth’s ecological balance," she said.

"I admire the intricate architecture of nature, how animals and plants complement each other. I never cease to be amazed by the earth’s endless climatic variations and the different environments that co-exist. I want it all to stay this way," she added.

However, Ms. Stenhammar notes that the poor do not have the luxury to admire nature. Air pollution exacerbates poverty and the poor often live close to sources of pollution. They often die or pay a heavy price in terms of loss of health and livelihood and medical bills. In Asia, nearly 800,000 people die each year due to respiratory ailments caused by air pollution.

Many poor people live on waste dumps and make a living from sorting and selling waste items. The presence of hazardous waste and smoke from burning waste also pose serious health risks. Reducing air pollution is one of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Media enquiries to Cornie Huizenga at [email protected] or Ian Gill, BAQ media coordinator, at [email protected]

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By the BAQ Media Team

Yogyakarta, 15 December 2006. The Governor of Jakarta, Sutiyoso, today received an award as one of the 2006 Air Quality Management Champions for his work in establishing the Transjakarta Busway, one of Asia’s largest bus rapid transport (BRT) systems. The award was conferred on him by the BAQ Organizing Committee during the final day of the BAQ 2006 Workshop.

"I want to see blue sky over Jakarta again," he said. "If other cities can develop sustainable transport, why can’t we?"

Mr. Sutiyoso decided in 2003 to set up the system, which he adapted from Bogota, Colombia, to combat traffic congestion and pollution in Indonesia’s capital.

The idea is to provide fast, efficient public transport to persuade more people to use public rather than private transportation. Jakarta has 2.5 million cars and 2.5 million motorcycles -- and the volume of vehicles is growing by 11 % a year. Some 600,000 vehicles enter the city every day, carrying 1.2 million passengers from the surrounding towns of Bekasi, Bogor, Depok and Tangerang.

The BRT is part of the bigger Macro Transportation System planned to deal with congestion and air pollution in Jakarta. Its buses run in exclusive lanes and can move rapidly, even in peak hours. According to surveys, most private car owners would prefer to use the bus once this service is available to them. This, and the fact that the number of bus users has tripled in two years, reflect the system’s success and popularity. Some 14 % of current bus passengers own cars.

TransJakarta was launched in February 2004 with one corridor. The second and third corridors were opened in early 2006. By early 2007, there will be more in operation. A total of 15 corridors are planned by 2010.

Last year, Jakarta’s City Administration also passed a law, which requires vehicles to undergo emission tests when they renew registration. The law also requires public transport vehicles to switch to compressed natural gas. It also bans people from smoking in certain public places.

The Governor, a retired Army Lieutenant-General, was born on December 6, 1944. He served his first term as Governor of Jakarta from 1997-2002. His current term expires next year.

Media enquiries to Cornie Huizenga at [email protected] or Ian Gill, BAQ media coordinator, at [email protected]

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By the BAQ Media Team

Yogyakarta, 14 December 2006: The First Governmental Meeting on Urban Air Quality in Asia today welcomed an initiative by the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to develop a long term vision to improve air quality in Asian cities.

Such a vision can inspire Asian cities and countries to develop air quality management policies and programs, it was announced in the Governmental Meeting’s Yogyakarta Summary.

The Meeting aimed to support the efforts of Asian governments to achieve optimal air pollution abatement strategies. It also agreed to explore holding a Second Governmental Meeting on Urban Air Quality in Asia in 2008.

The Meeting, attended by representatives of 20 Asian countries, was a key event during the Better Air Quality (BAQ) 2006 Workshop being held from December 13 to 15. The Meeting was organized by CAI-Asia, Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment, the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) and UNEP.
The Yogyakarta Summary also recommended:

Reviewing ambient air quality standards and air pollution Indexes. Since Asian countries use different methodologies to classify air quality and to communicate results to the public, a comparison of air pollution indices in different countries could increase their effectiveness.

Developing roadmaps for fuel quality and vehicle emission standards for new vehicles. CAI-Asia has taken the initiative in developing a roadmap to improve fuel quality and tighten vehicle emission standards. This forms a basis for policymakers in Asia to reduce emissions from mobile sources. As a next step, countries are invited to formulate roadmaps for fuel quality improvement and to tighten new vehicle emission standards.

Addressing fuel quality for stationary sources. There is a need to address the quality of fuels used by stationary sources, which have received less attention than mobile sources. This could start with documenting existing fuel qualities and the impact of using cleaner fuels on emissions of stationary sources. The improvement of fuel quality for stationary sources will in most cases be part of a more comprehensive and integrated strategy to reduce emissions from stationary sources.

Strengthening, developing and implementing strategies to control emissions from in-use vehicles. This includes the regular inspection of in-use vehicles as well the regulation of the useful life of in-use vehicles and improved testing for imported used vehicles to ensure that they comply with emission regulations.

Strengthening environmentally sustainable transport policies and systems. To provide the required mobility for a more sustainable movement of goods and persons, it is important to encourage the use of mass public transport systems through supportive and enabling policy and investment frameworks.

Promoting the use of clean alternative and renewable energy. Fossil fuel is an important energy source which will be depleted sooner or later and is a major source of emissions. It is important to promote the development and use of alternative and renewable energy sources

Promoting Eco-housing. Asia’s rapid urbanization is producing a large demand for housing, so countries need to consider the energy and emission implications. Information is available on eco-buildings with alternative designs and energy systems that reduce energy consumption and emissions.

Supporting principles of the Aichi Statement. The recommendations of participants of the First Meeting of the Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport Forum organized by UNCRD in Nagoya in August 2005, outlined in the Aichi Statement, could help Asian cities and countries achieve environmentally and people friendly urban transport.

In addition, the Meeting acknowledged the need for intensified action to improve urban air quality in Asian cities. Participants noted that earlier efforts by local and national governments and other stakeholders to reduce urban air pollution have started to produce results. Ambient air quality in Asia, on average, is improving despite substantial increases in urban population, motorization and energy use. Notwithstanding the positive results of air quality management (AQM) efforts so far, it is accepted that additional and intensified efforts are required to bring air quality levels within the health-based national ambient air quality standards.

The Meeting also underlined the importance of effective and sustained approaches to improve urban air quality in Asian cities through:

AQM based on sound science. This calls for strengthening of AQ monitoring, particularly the Quality Assurance and Quality Control of monitoring and the regular composition of emission inventories and source apportionment studies. The absence of such inventories and studies is a key obstacle to improving air quality management in Asian cities

AQM efforts at urban, national, regional and global levels should be increasingly coordinated. These regional efforts would have a positive impact on regional air quality and could help shape urban air quality management

Effective policies and programs to address the underlying causes for urban air pollution. The promotion of sustainable urban transport, clean technologies and energy conservation programs could prevent significant amounts of emissions but need to be combined with actions to address sources of air pollution from mobile and stationary sources. The adoption of sustainable urban transport, clean technologies and energy conservation programs would be facilitated by the development and adoption of incentive programs

A co-benefits strategy combining and integrating urban air quality management and climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. Urban air pollution and climate change have many common causes and often require similar management and mitigation strategies. The adoption of a co-benefit strategy could produce more effective results

Local and national governments, civil society, academe and the business sector should join forces in implementing air pollution prevention and control measures.

"The Yogyakarta Summary is important not only for Indonesia but also for the region. Our government is very committed to achieving better air quality and we have developed innovative projects to support this such as cleaner and more efficient energy and environmentally sustainable transport systems such as Jakarta’s Bus Rapid Transport system, ¨ said Dana A. Kartaksuma, Assistant Minister for Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment.

"The Yogyakarta Summary takes us a firm step forward from monitoring air pollution towards the prevention of air pollution," said Mylvakanam Iyngararasan, program specialist, of UNEP.

"The Summary is a key outcome of the Meeting on air quality to stimulate and influence decision makers to bring in sound policies and programs for better air for us and future generations," said Choudhury Rudra Charan Mohanty, Environment Programme Coordinator for UNCRD.

"We are impressed by the depth and breadth of the Meeting’s support for improving air quality management in the region. This is an important step in developing a more comprehensive long term AQM strategy," said Cornie Huizenga, head of the BAQ Secretariat.

At an earlier briefing at the BAQ 2006 Workshop, a World Health Organization official said that under new pollutant guidelines, it is estimated that over 750,000 people worldwide die prematurely from air pollution, including 530,000 in Asian cities. A recent ADB and CAI-Asia study estimates the economic costs of urban air pollution ranges from 2% to 4% of Gross Domestic Product.

The Meeting was attended by representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, China, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam as well as officials from observer organizations including ADB, World Bank, UN-ESCAP, SEI and WHO.

Media enquiries to Cornie Huizenga at [email protected] or Ian Gill, BAQ media coordinator, at [email protected]