Hundreds of civil servants plant mangrove

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Friday, June 6, 2014


CLOSE to a thousand civil servants belonging to the different national and local agencies, employees from private companies and students, trooped to the shore of Taytay, El Salvador City in Misamis Oriental and planted mangroves – their unified gesture to celebrate the World Environment Day (WED) on Thursday.

This year’s celebration, which is anchored on the theme, “Small Islands and Climate Change,” with the striking slogan “Raise Your Voice Not The Sea Level,” is an instrument for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment.

“It encourages not only for people to realize their shared responsibility in taking care of mother earth, but as well as become agents for positive environmental change,” said Ruth Tawantawan, regional director for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-10 (DENR-10).

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The WED celebration was spearheaded by the DENR-10 and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-region 10.

Climate change is a primary challenge to the environment today as global warming is causing ocean levels to rise at an increasing rate.

When global temperature rises, sea water expands and occupies more space coupled with the melting ice, which also contributes to the rise of the sea level.

The United Nations Environment Program reported that global sea levels are rising at an increasing rate, by about 10 to 25 centimeters over the last 100 years.

As the earth’s temperature heats up, extreme weather disturbances such as heat waves, floods, droughts, tropical cyclones and hurricanes come more frequent and severe.

The Philippines is one of the countries which have experienced the wrath of the environment.

The country lost so many lives because of the super typhoon Yolanda in 2013 that devastated Tacloban City and other parts of the Visayas.

“The disaster has served as a wakeup call not just for the government to take action but also to every Filipino as well,” Tawantawan said.

After Yolanda, the DENR declared the reforestation of mangroves and beach forests in some 380-kilometer coastlines in Easter Visayas.

The DENR said mangroves protect coastal communities from future typhoons and storm surges and other extreme weather events that may occur because they serve as a buffer—shielding the coastal areas—notwithstanding that they provide nursery grounds for fish, prawns and crabs that support fisheries production.

Originally, the Philippines has 500,000 hectares of mangrove forest, but due to coastal development, land conversion and reclamation, only less than 100,000 hectares are visible in the country today.

DENR said that it has reforested 46,000 hectares from 2011 to 2013. It has not only reforested mangroves sites but also riverbanks, urban, protected and community based forest management areas.

“Today, we hope to mark this significant day by planting 5,000 mangrove propagules, which raises a call for solidarity in mitigating climate change. Our individual positive actions and contributions to the environment will exponentially grow and produce positive outcomes that will help our mother earth adapt to climate change,” Tawantawan said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 06, 2014.

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