Sunday, November 23, 2008
Tree planting takes root
A WAVE of tree planting is sweeping across Singapore as everyone, from schoolchildren to MPs, pitches in to combat climate change and environmental degradation.
About 50,000 to 60,000 trees are planted each year by the National Parks Board (NParks) under various community schemes, a number that has been rising steadily since Singapore launched a drive four decades ago to cover the island in green.
Last Saturday, local firm ST Engineering set a national record by planting 2,008 trees in Admiralty Park.
Meanwhile, annual tree-planting days have been held by communities islandwide this month.
At a Jalan Besar GRC tree-planting day last week, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Lee Boon Yang remarked: 'We must have planted more than a million trees over the years.'
In fact, 1.3 million trees, from angsanas to tembusus, have been planted since 1967 when Singapore launched the Garden City programme to cover the island with greenery.
The push sprung from the idea that tree-planting has environmental benefits on both the global and local levels. Trees take in carbon dioxide from the air, sucking up tonnes of the compound that causes global warming.
Shade from rooftop gardens is also estimated to lower local ambient temperatures by up to 4 deg C. Roadside trees also filter soot from traffic exhaust.
The push to green Singapore has been proven to be successful. The land area covered by greenery increased from 36 per cent in 1987 to 47 per cent last year, despite the fact that the population nearly doubled in the same period.
The painting is by Nancy Merkle