The world marked Environment Day on June 5 with the theme “Beat Air Pollution” to bring attention to the impact of deteriorating air quality on the health of the environment and of people.
The most dominant causes of air pollution in the ASEAN region’s urban areas is vehicle and industrial emissions, according to a report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that outdoor air pollution causes more than 149,000 premature deaths annually.
The State of Global Air 2019, a special report on global exposure to air pollution and its disease burden, reported that the Philippines is number 10 in the list of top 10 countries with highest deaths attributable to air pollution in 2017. Topping the list is China with 1.2 million deaths; and the Philippines in 10th position, with 64,000 deaths.
The report was disclosed in the Toyota Hybrid Electric Technology Conference held last week at the Grand Hyatt Manila in BGC, by Atty. Glynda Bathan, deputy director of Clean Air Asia. Bathan was a member of the team which assisted the Philippine government in drafting the implementing rules and regulations of the Clean Air Act of 1999.
Air pollution and health issues are the major factors that pushed automotive companies like Toyota to design and implement long-term programs to have lesser impact on the environment. Toyota has even gone beyond this by aiming “to achieve not just zero environmental impact but also a net positive impact on Earth and society,” said Vince Socco, EVP, Toyota Asia Pacific, in his speech at the conference.
Socco, who was appointed in May 2017 as Regional Environmental spokesperson, outlined the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 which aims to eliminate Toyota’s carbon emissions by the next three decades.
For sustainable mobility, Toyota presented vehicle electrification as one of its long-term solutions for a greener and more energy-efficient local automotive landscape.
TMP is the first automotive brand to offer hybrid electric vehicles in 2009 with the introduction of the second generation Prius. Today, it offers two hybrid models in its Toyota vehicle lineup — the Prius and Prius C; and six hybrid models under the Lexus brand — GS 450h, NX 300h, RX 450h, CT 200h, CT 200h F Sport, LS 500h.
At the HEV conference, Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba, Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), revealed that in the Philippines, public transport is driving the EV industry.
As of December 2018, there are 4,362 registered EVs in the country, a very small number, but it shows that EVs have entered the motoring scene. Of that number, 83 percent is composed of e-trikes, 14 percent are e-motorcycles, two percent are e-utility vehicles, and only one percent is e-cars.
There are now 19 charging stations in Metro Manila but the government targets to install 200 stations in SM and Shell outlets by 2022. The government also sees 10,000 e-jeepneys by 2022, Dr. Aldaba said.
For private vehicles, tech experts suggest that hybrid technology is currently the most suitable electric vehicle platform for the local market. Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) are more fuel efficient than traditional gas or diesel engines, and their self-charging capability require no additional infrastructure to be built in order to seamlessly start the transition.
“Toyota has a whole range of electrified vehicle (xEV) technology that can help achieve sustainable mobility goals. But xEV popularization depends on many factors and varies by market. Based on current Philippine conditions, it is most appropriate to start with HEV popularization in order to accelerate the reduction of emissions and fuel consumption,” said TMP President, Satoru Suzuki during his keynote address.
By Pinky Concha Colmenares