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A new law in the Philippines may require every student in elementary school, high school and college to plant 10 trees before they graduate.
The legislation, titled the “Graduation Legacy for the Environmental Act,” was approved on May 15 in the House of Representatives and hopes to combat global climate change while teaching future generations to be more eco-friendly. However, the bill must be proposed and passed in the Senate to take effect, according to Popular Science.
“With over 12 million students graduating from elementary and nearly 5 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,” Representative Gary Alejano, the main author of the legislation, said on behalf of the Philippines’ Magdalo Party.
The Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education would be responsible for implementing and ensuring compliance with the bill.
“In the course of one generation, no less than 525 billion can be planted under this initiative,” Alejano said in its explanatory note.
The new law is part of the Philippines’ efforts to fight climate change through reforestation and forest rehabilitation.
It is one of the most severely deforested countries in the world, with total forest cover decreasing from 70% to nearly 20% in the 20th century because of illegal logging. The lack of trees also increases the risk of floods and landslides, The Independent noted.
Students will reportedly plant the trees in mangroves, existing forests, protected areas, military ranges, abandoned mining sites and some urban areas, according to CNN.
“Even with a survival rate of only 10%, this would mean an additional 525 million trees would be available for the youth to enjoy, when they assume the mantle of leadership in the future,” Alejano was quoted as saying.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article’s headline implied the bill was already implemented as a law. The bill passed the House of Representatives, but must also pass in the Senate in the Philippines.