Under the framework of the East Asia Clean Air Cities (EACAC) Program, ICLEI EAS hosted the training workshop “Tackling urban air pollution: Best practices in East Asia” on 31 May in Seoul.
Prior to the 7th Northeast Asia Forum on Air Quality Improvement, the ICLEI East Asia Secretariat (ICLEI EAS) organized a training with the support of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), closely looking at air improvement policies. City experiences were presented by Beijing and Seoul, followed by hour-long focused presentations by experts on best practices from waste and transport sectors affecting air quality. These included an expert from the Korea Transport Institute (KOTI), and from two organizations also involved in the CCAC--the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and Clean Air Asia (CAA).
Representatives from 8 East Asian local governments - Beijing, Chongqing, Hunan, Jinan, Sichuan (China), Kitakyushu (Japan), Seoul (Korea), and Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) - and 9 regional and international partners participated in the workshop.
Throughout the workshop, the complexities of air pollution in urban contexts were highlighted. In particular, clarifications were made on different air pollutant effects and their interactions with transportation use and waste management methods. With potential solutions presented in the “Avoid Shift Improve” (ASI) framework, discussions focused on recommendations to challenges faced by cities and cooperation opportunities among East Asia cities.
Aijun Shi, Municipal Research Institute of Environmental Protection, focused on emissions from the restauration sector, their breakdowns by cuisine, and the city’s efforts in reducing these. Eun Mi Jeon, Seoul Metropolitan Research Institute of Public Health and Environment (SIHE), shared a holistic overview of Seoul city’s air quality and improvement policies on fine particulate pollution in Seoul. New policies will be adapted in the transportation sector and the city hopes to have further cooperation with surrounding East Asian cities on air pollution monitoring and control systems.
Eric Zusman from IGES presented the impact of waste management, not limited to air quality but also on improvements of living quality and on climate change mitigation through the waste sector’s methane emissions. Introducing “Avoid, Shift, and Improve” strategies, he also shared case studies from Surabaya and Kawasaki. Young Kook Kim from KOTI, analyzed the spatiotemporal variation of air pollutants and shared results from air pollution modelling on transportation and land-use. He provided recommendations to combine slow community mobility with speedy urban transit and regional transport between cities. Kathleen Dematera from CAA, provided transport planning solutions for urban development patterns by emphasizing measures of “Avoid, Shift, and Improvement”.
Moderated by Shu Zhu, Regional Director of ICLEI EAS, the final section of the workshop was wrapped up by Merlin Lao of ICLEI EAS through a discussion led by questions compiled from city representatives. This included further clarifications of air pollutants in urban waste and transport sectors, and advocating for more cooperation between cities to jointly improve the air quality in East Asia.