A program jointly launched by the Government and the private sector in 2017 may surpass its 5 million target of planting trees in watersheds, an MWSS (Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System) official said.
MANILA — According to the Susanne Sta. Maria, MWSS corporate communications chief, some 4,131,326 trees have already been planted in 9,509 hectares of identified denuded areas under the Annual Million Trees Challenge program.
“Four years after its maiden launch, AMTC is now on its way to surpassing its target of 5 million trees,” she says in a statement.
Stakeholders are committed to plant 1,173,831 more trees that will be streamed live on social media this year she says.
“We are now on track to hit 5 million trees alongside with its bold plan for the nationwide expansion of the massive tree-planting project, which is set to celebrate its four-year milestones…,” says Ms Sta. Maria.
The program aims to revitalize the health of seven critical watersheds—Angat, Ipo, Kaliwa, La Mesa, Laguna Lake, Umiray, Upper Marikina and Manila Bay—crucial in supplying water to Metro Manila and neighboring provinces.
On track for its nationwide expansion with the Annual Million Trees Challenge, MWSS chairman and administrator Reynaldo Velasco says, “Watersheds are not only crucial in the provision of water for agricultural, domestic and industrial purposes. They also serve as habitats to diverse plant and animal species; and play other ecological functions such as flood mitigation.
“Illegal logging, grazing, and mining are some of the human activities that have adversely affected the state of our country’s watersheds. Despite the growing awareness of environmental protection among Filipinos, much still needs to be done to raise that awareness to the ideal level,” he points out.
Making headway in achieving water security, the critical statement of the seven watersheds, however, “is a cause for worry.”
“Our progress can be gleaned from the increased population being served. To further improve this, we have embarked on water infrastructure projects. More can be done to improve the performance of the water industry sector. Better watershed management will definitely be a key,” says Mr Velasco.
The expansion of the Annual Million Trees Challenge will be implemented via the its partnership with the Million Trees Foundation Inc that the MWSS board of trustees approved on 25 August. (RA/The MiNT)
Featured image: Ipo watershed. /Credit: WWF-Philippines