Table Talk: Trees for charcoal in lieu of coconut shell is everywhere PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 21 November 2011 13:34

BY Mike S Apostol

It is quite a surprise that only for a few hours of rain, many barangays in the peninsula are flooded. Rivers swell and overflow to residential areas destroying farm and crops and even infrastructures. Every flash flood is very costly to the local government aside from destroying the economy of the flooded area.
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Local government assessment team reports that forest denudation is the culprit. Indeed, their report hit the nail right on the plank. Trees are illegally cut by anybody in the provinces. Most of these trees are young growing trees solely used to make charcoal. Day in and day out you will see passenger vehicles and trucks loaded with jute sacks, over a hundred per truck filled with tree charcoal.  Imagine the quantity of tree charcoal being transported everyday and you will see how many hundreds of young trees are felled everyday. Almost all municipalities in the peninsula are affected by flash floods because local government units are not vigilant in protecting our forest against their constituents who make a living by destroying the environment.
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Not only trees from the forest are made into charcoal even mangrove trees are used to make charcoal. The whole shoreline barangays in the Dumanquilas Bay are cutting mangrove trees for charcoal and sometimes even local government units order mangroves trees for their government housing and building projects. Imagine the violation of a local government unit which is tasked to guard our shoreline and have in their programs mangrove reforestation, where the national government spent billions of pesos to replant mangroves and now they are accessories to the destruction of our shoreline by ordering mangrove trees for their government projects. Somebody must be made answerable to this wanton destruction of our environment. “To see is to believe” — my advice is, why don’t the DENR go to these municipalities mentioned and see for themselves the construction materials used in those government projects ? While they go to the public market and terminals and see sacks upon sacks of tree charcoal being transported to Pagadian City which will in turn be delivered to the bakeries and restaurants in Cebu City.
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Even in Zamboanga City, tree charcoal can be found in all our public markets and “talipapas”, where do they come from? It comes from the east and west coast barangays where illegal logging is happening.
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The flash floods that happened in Kumalarang, Zamboanga Del Sur the other day destroying farms and homes also destroyed many fishponds in the area. The floods by coincidence, was also met by high tide, overflowing fish ponds and destroying dikes. It is a great loss to fishpond owners. This disaster could not have happened if our forests and shorelines are not destroyed.
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Scoop: Destroyers of our forest are indirectly like terrorists because they also destroy the lives of the innocent. They should be met with the full force of the law. Poverty is not a reason to destroy the environment.