The bill, which has already passed the lower house of Congress, will seek to formalize the Filipino tradition of planting trees upon graduation. This also serves as a bid to help counter the growing problem of deforestation.
The proponents of the bill say the initiative could result in over 500 billion trees planted in the course of a single generation if properly implemented and followed.
“With over 12 million students graduating from elementary and nearly five million students graduating from high school and almost 500,000 graduating from college each year, this initiative, if properly implemented, will ensure that at least 175 million new trees would be planted each year,” stated Gary Alejano, the Philippines’ Magdalo Party representative and lead author of the proposed legislation.
“Even with a survival rate of only 10 [percent], this would mean an additional 525 million trees would be available for the youth to enjoy, when they assume the mantle of leadership in the future.”
The trees will be planted in mangroves, existing forests, protected areas, military ranges, abandoned mining sites and selected urban areas. The proposed legislation will ensure that the species selected for planting are appropriate to each location, climate and topography of the area. It will also give preference to indigenous species.
The backers of the bill hope that the initiative will help bring environmental awareness and understanding to future generations, and make way for more opportunities to develop other ecological initiatives.
It still has to be considered and approved by the Senate (the upper parliamentary chamber) before it can be signed into law by the president. The country’s Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education will implement and ensure compliance with the bill after it becomes a law. (Related: New kind of drones designed to plant up to 100,000 trees per day.)
The Philippines is among the world’s most severely deforested countries, with total forest cover dropping from 70 percent to an alarming 20 percent during the 20th century. Illegal logging is a major problem in the country, and the lack of trees in some areas has led to an increased risk of flooding and landslides.
Here are five other countries with the highest rates of deforestation in the world:
Help the environment however you can by reading up on strategies to combat deforestation at Environ.news.