The greening of Davao

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By Fe San Juan Hidalgo

Citizen Fe

Monday, June 9, 2014


I PERUSED all the news in the Davao daily newspapers looking for news about the greening of Davao. June5 is World Environment Day and the theme is "Let us make our land productive and protect the environment." This is the most relevant article for this occasion. In my past book writing series on environment, I remember a concluding statement which I wrote. Is there still hope for our devastated environment today?

As long as there is a living seed which will germinate and grow; as long as there is an egg hatching into a chick we should not lose hope. Life will go on to be perpetuated from generation to the next and go on and on.
To celebrate the 44th Earth Day, a multi-sectoral group planted seedlings. Over 2000 seedlings of Philippine hardwood trees are expected to grow as forest foliage over the city's upland areas.

The city government of Davao, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) together with other organizations with the same goal led the planting of narra, molave, and mahogany seedlings in mini-watersheds located in Sitio Upper Kibalang at Marilog District.

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In charge of this worthwhile project is Martin Obrero, supervising specialist of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO). In this activity, planting the seedlings is just the beginning. It is a long way till we see the success of this undertaking. Volunteers from the local community will take care of the newly planted seedlings for at least three years to ensure that they will survive until maturity. Tender loving care is needed especially in the early stages.

The long range plan of the National Greening Program as the flagship project of DENR is to plant 1.5 billion trees, planted in 1.5 million hectares of forest lands until 2016, a period of six years.

Reforestation is one effective way to mitigate the ill effects of global climate change. The forests absorb a great amount of carbon dioxide which causes the global warming. All barangays are expected to practice this reforestation program for the whole Mindanao.

Another factor for a successful greening program is to propagate the organic farming. The profuse use of chemical fertilizers had made the land "sick" and rendered useless after years of assimilating these dangerous chemicals. Cases of sickness among farmers are recorded due to the exposure to these chemicals. Fungicides and pesticides sprayed on the crops and orchards have residues on the leaves or fruits which people eating them may ingest into their bodies without knowing it.

On the contrary, organic fertilizers are obtained from all biodegradable wastes from the kitchen and animal manure. Guano from bats, chicken manure, and other farm animal wastes are collected and processed. Big compost pits are a common sight in the farms. A big pit is dug and the wastes are placed there. A layer of humus soil is spread over these wastes and a useful bacteria digester of waste is added. This is repeated layer after layer till the pit is filled. This is covered until it is ready to be used by the farmers as they till their lands.

Incidentally collecting this biodegradable wastes separated from the non- biodegradable lessens the bulk of thrash in the land fill. A bonus is getting things which can be recycled and reuse or sold.

Organically grown crops are safe and sold at a higher price in the city. Davao is well known for these organic produce even in Metro Manila. Another remarkable news is this. A company is starting a 7 million facility to further boost the production of organically grown banana. Cavendish bananas are a major export from Davao earning dollars for our country.

I remember writing about greening our homes in the city. Study your yard. If the soil is not good fertilize it with organic fertilizers. If you lack space use any container or pots. Plant any edible plants of your choice. Lettuce, tomatoes, pechay. Vines may be planted beside fences or trellis like ampalaya, squash, beans. Get seeds from the stores where they sell plants. Try this. It is therapeutic and rewarding. It is great to eat your home grown fruits and veggies. I experienced it when I harvested my sweet corn. I ate them boiled or roasted.

For comments text cp no. 09202112534.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 10, 2014.

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