The Philippines is made up of 7,641 islands in Southeast Asia. It is estimated that over 24.2 million acres of forests were cut down primarily for logging. Widespread development and agriculture have catalyzed deforestation in the area which has been an environmental issue. To counter the situation, the nation has proposed a bill that will require all graduating students from elementary school to college to plant 10 trees each before they can graduate.
“To this end, the educational system shall be a locus for propagating ethical and sustainable use of natural resources among the young to ensure the cultivation of a socially-responsible and conscious citizenry,” read the bill referred to as “Graduation Legacy For the Environment Act.” Authored by representative Gary Alejano, the bill was approved in the House and is now sent to the Philippines Senate for action.
Many see this as an opportunity for the Youths to build a greener environment for their generations to come. With over 12 million students graduating from elementary school each year, 5 million from high school and 500,000 from college, 175 million new trees could be planted each year and over the course of one generation over 525 billion trees planted.
According to law, the trees should be located in forests, mangroves, and protected areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations, urban areas, inactive and abandoned mine sites, and other suitable lands
Planting indigenous species that match the area’s climate and topography is the key focus. Government agencies will help with establishing nurseries, seedling production, site identification, monitoring and evaluating and technical help.
From energy conservation, prevention of soil erosion, provision of oxygen, combat climatic changes, provide food and shelter for animals, providing medicine and wood to human, without forgetting beautifying the environment, trees should be protected and increased in numbers. The implementation of this new law will have the potential for long term positive impact.