Cebu needs to plant mangroves

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Monday, December 9, 2013

AN OFFICIAL of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) yesterday said his agency will provide mangrove seedlings and saplings to those who want protect their coasts from storm surges.

The Cebu City Council also asked the Coastline Management Board (CMB) to study areas suitable for planting mangroves.

The council asked the CMB to look for areas in the city where there are mangrove forests that can be restored or rehabilitated.

In his resolution, councilor Alvin Dizon cited the order of President Benigno Aquino III to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to undertake comprehensive program of environment protection.

This includes creating “no build zones” on coastline.

Dizon said that according to the 4th Association of Southeast Nations Heritage Parks Conference, mangroves are the country’s best hope for mitigating climate change.

Cebu City has at least 16 coastal barangays. Dizon said is important to study if these areas are still suitable for planting mangroves.

The council also asks companies and organizations to plant mangroves as part of their corporate social responsibility program.

“(Typhoon Yolanda) has taught us a lesson that storm surges could happen given the strong winds that go with a ‘monstrous’ typhoon and its devastating effects to communities and coastlines,” said DENR 7 Regional Executive Director Isabelo Montejo.

“It is high time we reflected on the degraded coastal forest and how we could regenerate it through mangrove reforestation to make our coastlines less vulnerable to extreme weather events,” Montejo said.

He said storm surges, which is the rise of sea waters being carried or lifted by strong winds engulfing coastal areas, occurred in Tacloban City and Dulag town in Leyte; municipalities of Guiuam, Llorente and Balangiga in Eastern Samar; and the town of Basey in Samar.

Rep. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu, 4th district) said Bantayan Island was fortunate to have no storm surges when Yolanda hit because it was low tide.

“Mangroves are salty tolerant, woody, seed-bearing plants ranging in size from small shrubs to tall trees and they occur along sheltered inter-tidal coastlines and in association with estuaries and lagoons,” Montejo said.


Montejo said that aside from protection against several causes of calamities, mangroves can also increase food production because it provides nursery grounds for fish, prawns and crabs, and support fisheries production in coastal areas.

Aside from their biotic functions, Montejo said mangroves have extensive rooting structures that slow water movement to trap sediments.

Pollutants washed from the land, particularly those that are adhered to sediment particles, are also filtered and absorbed by mangroves.

He said mangroves anchor the soil and absorb and dissipate the energy of the waves, slowing their passage in land.

“Those who would want to help in planting mangroves may coordinate with our community environment and natural resources office to source out mangrove seedlings and saplings and even identifying the suitable planting sites,” Montejo said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 09, 2013.

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