Bike lanes, environmental education critical in making Metro Cebu a bikeable and green city

Cebu City—Making Metro Cebu a bikeable, greener, and  more sustainable city would entail more bicycle lanes, a better public transportation system, and intensified efforts to raise awareness on environmental protection, experts said during the inaugural episode of Klima Ug Kalikupan, a joint webcast series by Cebu Technological University (CTU) and The Climate Reality Project Philippines.

Climate Reality Leader Elizar Sabinay, Jr., Program Coordinator of Cebu Leads Foundation, noted that Cebu City is the most visited local government unit in the country and it ranks first in terms of trip attraction and generation, attracting an average of 3.5 million trips a day and producing a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Sixty percent (60%) of Metro Cebu’s population are using public transportation. They are public commuters… However, in terms of road usage, only 10% are available [for public transport]. Private vehicles use 79% of our roads,” Sabinay explained, citing 2019 data from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Given the data, Sabinay underscored the need to improve public transportation and create a more enabling environment for active mobility, such as bicycles in  Cebu.

“During the pandemic, we noticed the increase of cyclists in Cebu—cycling for the purpose of mobility and transportation. Even during Odette, the most efficient mode of transportation, because of the gas problem, was bicycles,” Sabinay said.

Sabinay added that more people would like to cycle but are discouraged because of road unavailability of bicycle lanes, poor road conditions, and lack of secured bicycle parking. He said that his group is encouraging local government units in Metro Cebu to support the cycling community.

Dr. Asuncion Monsanto, University Director for CTU’s National Service Training Program, meanwhile, underscored the need to educate more people on the importance of sustanability and proper waste management.

She also shared the mechanisms that the university has put in place to aid in pollution control in Metro Cebu, including the Plastic Bottle Depository, to encourage students to segregate; and the establishment and the Pollution Control Team, a group of faculty members, appointed by the CTU administration to lead good practices on pollution control and environmental protection.

The University, according to Monsanto, conducts seminars and lectures inside and outside the school to raise awareness on how Cebuanos could protect the environment and help address the climate crisis.

Addressing how Cebuanos could make communities greener, Monsanto said that starting with something is better than doing nothing. 

“First “I” is interested—meaning get interested and get engaged. Appreciate it. Get involved. The more you are aware, the more you will care. The other “I”  is intentional. Be purposeful and be mindful, purposely doing things that are good for the environment. Be conscious. Ask yourself about the impact of what you are doing. The third “I” is integrity. Do things that are right even if there is no one watching,” she said.

Klima Ug Kalikupan is a monthly webcast on climate change and environmental issues in Cebu and the Visayas and Mindanao regions. To catch the next episode, stay tuned to the Facebook pages of CTU and Climate Reality Philippines.