Mayor Joy cited as ‘Champion of the Earth’ by UNEP

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune

Quezon City Mayor Joy was recognized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as one of the “Champions of the Earth” for leading the city in implementing initiatives for climate change and the environment.

The local government said on Monday, Oct. 30, that Belmonte was among the individuals and institutions who received the award under the “Policy Leadership Category” for their dedication in protecting the environment and reducing the usage of plastics.

According to the UNEP (www.unep.org), Quezon City has focused on reducing plastic pollution under Belmonte’s leadership.

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Quezon City  Mayor Joy Belmonte (Photo from QC Mayor Joy Belmonte Facebook page/ MANILA BULLETIN)

It said that Belmonte was given the recognition for her efforts in transforming QC into an “environmental trailblazer.”

It cited some of the city’s environmental initiatives implemented when Belmonte became QC’s top executive, including the banning of single-use plastic bags, cutlery, straws and containers in hotels, restaurants and fast-food chains for dine-in customers, as well as single-use packaging material.

Among QC’s environmental programs were the “Trash to Cashback,” allowing residents to exchange recyclables and single-use plastic products for “environmental points” which they can use to pay utility bills and buy groceries; the “Vote to Tote” program that turn tarpaulins used in election campaigning into bags; and the program that puts refill stations for essentials such as swashing-up liquid and liquid detergent in convenience stores in the city.

The city also established QC Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Department that focuses on the local government’s goal to have a climate-resilient and carbon-neutral city by 2050.

It also has an Enhanced Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP) 2021-2050 that sets out a roadmap to build climate resilience, pursue carbon neutrality or “net-zero” release of carbon oxide to the atmosphere by 2050, and advance green economic development to give QCitizens a livable and quality community.

In 2019, The Quezon City Council passed a resolution that declared “climate emergency” in the city. This aims to raise the residents’ awareness that climate change exists and to establish clean, sustainable, and environment-friendly programs.

Through the resolution, the city government was allowed to dedicate up to 13 percent of its budget for adaptation and mitigation measures for the environment.

“There are plans to double the number of parks in the city, introduce more electric buses and almost quadruple the network of bike lanes by 2030 to fight pollution. Other green initiatives include promoting urban farming and deploying equipment that allows community farms to transform organic waste into methane gas that can be used for cooking,” UNEP said.

The city is also part of the C40 cities, a network of around 100 leading world cities collaborating to deliver urgent actions to confront climate change, since 2015.

Belmonte and the C40 Cities launched Climate Action Implementation (CAI) program in 2022, which aims to take urgent actions to address climate crisis and implement transformational activities to help the environment.

“Together, let us beat plastic pollution!,” Belmonte said.

UNEP’s Champion of the Earth Award is is the highest recognition it gives to individuals and organizations whose actions have transformative impact on the environment.

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