The development of a country cannot always be judged by the metric of economic growth. Sometimes, a developing country can come out as a ‘developed’ country just because of the mindset they have. Most developing countries have a very positive attitude towards the environment. It started from Bangladesh and its ban of single-use plastic to the afforestation attempts in India and China. Now, the Philippines arrives with House Bill 8728 – each student who graduates out of high school should plant 10 or more trees. Only then will their graduation be accepted.
The tradition of tree-planting has been formalized by this law and is a great step to tackle climate change. According to an estimation, if this law is truly followed, about 525 billion trees can be planted in a single generation. The representative of the Magdalo Party of Philippines, Gary Alejano, is the chief author of this legislation. According to him, there are more than twelve million students who graduate from elementary school, 5 million from high schools, and 500,000 from college. Hence, in one year, it is possible to plant at least 175 million trees. And hence, mathematically, about 525 billion trees can be easily planted. That is even after considering the survival rate of 10%.
These trees will be planted in specific areas though – in existing forest areas, deserted mining sites, urban areas selected by authorities, and mangroves and other protected areas, as per the CNN.
The selected species will be a local variety best suited for the place, topography, and climate. Indigenous trees will be preferred.
This legislation will not only bring an impact on carbon dioxide buildup in our environment as the trees will draw in carbon but it will also bring about an ecological balance. Our environment needs this balance considering the amount of destruction that we have forced on it.
The Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Education of Philippines agrees with the Bill and complies with it.
If the legislation is followed well, then the Philippines might rise up as a forested region. There may not be any other country that needed this legislation more than the Philippines. It is one of the most deforested counties with the 70% forest cover plummeting down to 20% in the previous century. Illicit logging is a persistent problem in the country. And due to the low number of trees, there are more landslides and floods, uprooting more trees along the way.
Let’s hope the Philippines rises up again like a phoenix. It needs to do so, now more than ever.
IMAGE CREDIT: Denphumi Jaisue