MANILA, Philippines?The Metro Manila Development Authority and the World Bank have signed an agreement involving the implementation of a project aimed at easing traffic congestion and addressing air pollution along Edsa.
Under the "Bus Reduction Project," MMDA shall use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in managing traffic along Edsa. Moreover, each registered public utility bus will have an electronic tag, which will serve as its identification.
The technology will allow the MMDA to detect, with the help of monitors to be installed in selected points, unregistered buses and those that are plying the route they are not supposed to take. It will also allow the MMDA to detect traffic violations.
Because the use of RFID will help the MMDA detect which buses it should prohibit from plying Edsa, the number of buses is expected to be reduced once the project is implemented. The decline in the number of buses is also expected to reduce carbon emissions that pollute the air.
According to estimates, there are 5,000 buses?including up to 1,500 "colorums" or those that operate illegally?that contribute to traffic congestion and air pollution in EDSA.
Meanwhile, the World Bank shall purchase carbon emission-reduction credits from the MMDA from 2011 to 2013. These credits are bought by industrialized countries, which are major contributors to the world's carbon emissions, as a way to comply with environmental protocols imposed by the United Nations. Rich countries are required to invest in projects that will help reduce the world's carbon emissions.
According to the World Bank, the amount of carbon credits it will purchase from the MMDA could reach 364,000 euros or P24 million.
Industrialized nations are required to reduce their greenhouse emissions by 5 percent by 2012 from the 1990 levels. As an alternative compliance, industrialized countries may buy ERCs from developing countries like the Philippines.
The World Bank manages the pool of fund contributed by the industrialized nations. The fund is the source of funds of industrialized nations to buy carbon emission-reduction credits from the developing countries.
Credits are valued based on the amount of tons of carbon emissions reduced following the implementation of an environment-friendly program. The price per ton of carbon emission reduced is determined by the international "carbon" market.
In a statement, the World Bank said the agreement with the MMDA is consistent with its overall assistance plan for the Philippines. The plan targets, among other things, to reduce carbon emissions through expansion of climate change-mitigation programs in various sectors, including power, transport, and waste management.
"Not only will the EDSA Bus Reduction Project improve the traffic situation in the country's main thoroughfare and contribute to the global fight of reducing GHG emissions, it will also have significant local environmental, health and economic benefits for Metro Manila residents," said World Bank country representative Bert Hofman.
Hofman noted that outdoor air pollution is partly a reason for premature death of some 15,000 people in urban areas every year.
In the same statement, MMDA Chair Oscar Inocentes noted his office's commitment to implement the RFID project, which he said would modernize traffic management system. The project has elicited opposition from people from the transport sector.
"The database to be accumulated by the system will also provide a platform for better urban transport planning and for the development of an effective public transport franchise management, which can be replicated in other urban centers in the country," Inocentes said.