UP students paint gateway to clean air

August 7, 2011

MANILA, Philippines - For anyone who has ridden the “Toki” or “Ikot” jeepney, craved for isaw and monay, and proclaimed himself to be an iskolar ng bayan, the University Gateway located just before the E. Jacinto intersection literally serves as the gateway to the country’s top university. But members of the UP Sigaw (sa Isip, sa Salita at sa GAWa) organization have turned the UP Gateway into more than just a landmark. They’ve now made it a gateway for cleaner air in the university.

As part of their “iSIGAW mo sa Hangin” initiative, the organization painted the Napoleon Abueva installation with BOYSEN® KNOxOUT™ — the first air-cleaning paint in the world with CristalActiv photocatalytic technology that’s been proven to effectively neutralize noxious car emissions per square meter painted.

Scientists from the European Network of Excellence on Atmospheric Composition Change (ACCENT) have stressed the dangerous link between air pollution and climate change and the negative effects they have on health and the environment are multiplied when combined.

Members of UP Sigaw have chosen Climate Change and the Youth and “iSIGAW mo sa Hangin” as one of the projects that push their initiative. “A report by the World Bank identifies the Philippines as one of the top 12 nations most at risk to climate change, the highest in Southeast Asia,” shares the Ponce Ernest Samaniego, project coordinator of UP Sigaw. “Clearly, this is an issue that needs to be faced head on and considered personal by the Filipino youth.”

Despite this, UP Sigaw is saddened by the fact that the youth are not called upon to act on such issues. Case in point being that there was no mention of the youth in the Climate Change Act of 2009. Samaniego notes, “The closest discourse of the government’s plan for the youth is represented on a line in the Act… and other stakeholders.”

With this, the organization has taken it upon itself to rally awareness and positive action among the youth with projects such as iSIGAW mo sa Hangin. In fact, part of promoting the project is distributing comic-book style images depicting images of ordinary students turned into superheroes by BOYSEN® KNOxOUT™.

Aside from UP Sigaw, other stakeholders that have made use of BOYSEN® KNOxOUT™ and in line with it, the OneWallOneWorld advocacy include the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia), the Manila Observatory, the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP) and the city governments of Makati and Marikina. All proponents believe that the name of the campaign says it all — we have one world and the common responsibility of improving its air quality can be assumed by painting one wall each.

The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines), the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA), and the local government of Marikina also painted a wall in Marikina Riverbanks, site of extensive flooding during Typhoon Ondoy, for Global Climate Change Day of Action last December.

“We’re giving OneWallOneWorld a youthful spirit and we’re sending the message that we can all be part of the solution to Climate Change. We can all be superheroes of the planet by taking part in this movement. We hope that this will have a snowball effect for the youth’s confidence in the fight against Climate Change,” shares Samaniego.

So the next time anyone enters UP and passes through the University Gateway, they can be assured that, somehow, the air that they are breathing is cleaner. “Turning the University Gateway created by Napoleon Abueva is a victory not only for UP Sigaw and BOYSEN® KNOxOUT™; but for the Filipino youth’s fight against climate change. We have indelibly changed UP and made it a greener University and we know that this is just the beginning,” Samaniego adds.

To find out more about BOYSEN® KNOxOUT™ and to find out which companies and citizens are stepping up to clean our air, visit
- Courtesy of Manila Times (July 7, 2010) and The Philippine Star (August 7, 2010)