Philippines passes new law requiring students to plant 10 trees if they want to graduate

Philippines passes new law requiring students to plant 10 trees if they want to graduate

All over the world, nations and companies are making more of an effort to counteract the devastating effect climate change is having on our planet. From driving electric cars to correctly recycling waste - every individual is capable of making a switch that can positively impact climate change.

As author Nelson Henderson once said: "The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit."

Now, the Philippines have introduced a new law which requires all high school and college students to plant at least 10 trees before they can graduate, the Independent has reported.

The law will see the planting of trees become a formal tradition upon graduation, in an effort to raise awareness of global warming and combat climate change.

Students of the Batasan Hills High School attend their graduation ceremony. Credit: Getty

If the law is adhered to, this would see as many as 525 billion trees planted for an entire generation of graduates - with the country's Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education working together to carry out the new bill and ensure it is complied with at all times.

Gary Alejano, a representative for the Philippines’ Magdalo Party, said within the explanatory note of the bill:

"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.

"In the course of one generation, no less than 525 billion can be planted under this initiative

"Even with a survival rate of only 10 per cent, 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."

forests near the tourist town of El Nido on Palawan island in the Philippines, Credit: Getty

According to CNN's Philippines news service, the trees will be planted in military ranges, abandoned mining sites, some protected areas, existing forests, and several urban areas.

The drastic change is the result of the Philippines being one of the world's most deforested countries - with the Independent reporting that the nation has gone from having 70% forest coverage to just 20% in the 20th century.

Uprooted coconut trees on a hill near the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar province Credit: Getty

One of the biggest challenges the country faces is illegal logging - which not only destroys natural habitats for many species, but has also increased the risk and the impacts of both landslides and floods.

Regarding the drastic - but welcome - new law, the government has said that the species selected for planting must be appropriate to each location, climate, and topography of the area,  and that they will also be looking at increasing the number of indigenous species within each location.

As well as the instant carbon-absorbing impact the trees will provide, the government hope the legislation will help bring a greater understanding of the environment and its importance to future generations.