Leyte as Bamboo Corp., any taker? (2)

Former Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said that as a typhoon-prone province facing the eastern seaboard, bamboo growing is ideal in Leyte due to its tenacity to withstand strong winds and flooding.

It also creates a positive impact on the environment and is a big producer of oxygen and sequesters more carbon dioxide than any other tree.

“Bamboo produces 35 percent more oxygen than a tree and it absorbs an enormous amount of greenhouse gases. One newly planted bamboo can sequester two tons of carbon dioxide in just seven years,” he said.

The China-based International Bamboo and Rattan Organization, a multilateral development organization that promotes environmentally sustainable development using bamboo and rattan, estimates that a hectare of bamboo can sequester 200 to almost 400 tons of carbon.

“Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. This makes it particularly suitable as a tool for carbon sequestration. Because bamboo grows back quickly after being harvested, it can store carbon in many durable products, as well as in the plant itself. Over time, this means that bamboo can sequester more carbon than some tree plantations,” states a position paper of INBAR to the UN Conference on Climate Change.

INBAR’s 44 member states, including the Philippines, have pledged commitments to restore almost 6 million hectares of degraded land with bamboo.

National Security Adviser Secretary Clarita Carlos, who is a known bamboo advocate, says bamboo addresses concerns on food, energy and environmental security — which are essential components of national security — of the country.

“Wala naman kalaban ngayon, except for climate change,” she said. Carlos added that bamboo is not only a source of food for many Filipinos but is also the best erosion retardant.

She also said that there is an existing law that mandates that 20 percent of chairs in all public schools should be made of bamboo but the law could not be enforced due to lack of materials.

Leyte is positioning itself to be the next bamboo capital in the country. On Thursday, it held the First Leyte Bamboo Summit attended by over 300 participants coming from the different local government units, environmental groups, academe and the private sector.

The mayors of the 40 municipalities in the province have pledged support to allot spaces in their respective municipalities for bamboo farms or public parks. They have also expressed enthusiasm with the planned Leyte Bamboo Corporation.

Are there takers?

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