The Philippines has introduced a new law requiring all high school and college students to plant at least 10 trees before they can graduate.
The new law which was based on the tradition of planting trees upon graduation is the country’s latest move to combat global climate change.
If it is properly adhered to, the new legislation could result in 525 billion trees planted in a single generation.
“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, said Gary Alejano, the representative of the Philippines’ Magdalo Party.
“In the course of one generation, no less than 525 billion can be planted under this initiative,” he continued.
Even when only 10 percent of trees planted survive, it would still mean an additional of 525 million trees “available for the youth to enjoy when they assume the mantle of leadership in the future.”
According to CNN Philippines, the trees will be planted in mangroves, existing forests and some protected areas including military ranges, abandoned mining sites and selected urban areas.
There are some requirements that the students have to follow before planting trees as they have to consider whether the trees are suitable to be planted in such location, as well as the climate and topography of the area.
Indigenous species of tree will get preference.
The country’s Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education will together implement and ensure compliance with the new law.
Apart from the immediate benefits, the trees will give such as absorbing carbon dioxide and combatting deforestation, the government hopes for the younger generation to understand environmental and ecological issues in the future.
The Philippines is one of the world’s most heavily deforested countries with total forest cover dropping from 70 percent to just 20 percent. Illegal logging remains one of the major problems in the country as lack of trees causes a higher risk of landslides and floods.