Nadia Cruz

On June 25, 2024, we joined with over 100 healthcare professionals, CSOs, mobility advocates, and climate advocates from the country’s health sector gathered for the “Ride For Their Lives bike ride to advance initiatives prioritizing planetary health amid the 25th anniversary of the Clean Air Act Philippines

Air pollution presents an immediate challenge in the Philippines, not only it is a significant health concern globally, as the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that nearly everyone on the planet breathes air tainted with pollutants. Air pollution presents a tangible impact, as transportation fueled by fossil fuels- accounts to the majority of the air pollution in the Philippines. Intricately, it is linked with climate change as emission of pollutants alongside greenhouse gasses from human activities creates a complex web of environmental challenges and constant health implications to the communities.

Health professionals including doctors and their associations led the call for clean air campaign. [Photo: Leo M. Sabangan II]


The Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, is a comprehensive air pollution control policy for the country by preserving and protecting air quality, establishing an air quality management system, prohibiting certain forms of waste disposal, and regulating emissions while the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is the leading implementing agency. 25 years ago, the passage of the law was lobbied by CSOs, environmentalists, coalitions, academia, nonprofits to ensure that a certain policy would protect and ensure clean air for every Filipino. As we commemorate the 25th anniversary, we continue to emphasize clean air as our fundamental right, and continue to foster collaboration to ensure that the guidelines set are implemented.

Ara Alejo

This year, the “Bike for Their Lives” campaign is launched through a bike ride to reach the government agencies, The Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to sign the Statement of Commitment and Collaboration for clean air and a healthier future.

With governmental agencies being onboarded to the campaign, it is an significant indicator that government agencies are committed to maintaining and improving air quality. Updating air quality guidelines in line with the World Health Organization’s standards and championing transparency through investing public air monitoring systems, advocate for active transportation solutions are essential steps toward achieving this goal.

Transportation and clean air are intrinsically linked. Encouraging active transportation solutions, such as biking and walking, can significantly reduce air pollution from vehicular emissions. Investing in better public transportation infrastructure will facilitate the shift from the excessive use of private cars to public transportation and active mobility.

The bike ride started at the DOH, followed by a program in the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), where two groups of cyclists merged and went to DENR. The event concluded with a press briefing at the LCP.


Fread De Mesa

Health workers and public health associations underscores the importance of clean air as air pollution can be accounted for by various diseases and health conditions. Advocating for active mobility not only is known to promote a healthier way of transportation but it also does not emit any harmful emissions. 

As we recognize the impacts, we should also recognize the source of the pollutants. The transportation sector primarily relies on fossil fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, to power vehicles including cars, trucks, buses, ships, and airplanes. These fuels are derived from crude oil and are burned in internal combustion engines to produce energy. 

The emissions from fossil fuel combustion in transportation significantly degrade air quality, especially in urban areas with high vehicle density. These toxic and harmful emissions from air pollution, brought by transportation only exacerbate the climate crisis, resulting in altered weather patterns, influencing disease dynamics and posing long-term risks to our way of life.

The collective call for cleaner air foster the collaborations needed among the policymakers, healthcare professionals, and the public to uphold the need for enhanced air quality standards in the Philippines as well as accentuate the inseparable connections between climate change, air quality, and health outcomes. 


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The bike ride is among the three events launched under the Ride for Their Lives campaign, two separate activities including a creative visual study and lung installation will be launched in upcoming months. 

We reached to several bike commuters to attach a crochet-bike lung to their bikes as they bike commute. The social media campaign is to highlight the narratives of daily bike commuters the urgent need for enhanced air quality standards in the Philippines. The lungs aims to visualize the poor air quality in the area as a creative intervention aimed at raising awareness and pushing for updates to the air quality standards under the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999. The result of the visual study will be launched together with the lung installation.


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The urgency to address these twin crises lies in the recognition that the well-being and survival of the Filipino people are intricately linked to the health of our planet. We ride for a sustainable and just future, we ride for their lives.