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Greening among long-term measures for saving Laguna Lake

MANILA, March 5 – Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) will promote greening within the area surrounding Laguna de Bay to better help address soil erosion there and spare that dying lake from further siltation.

"Greening is among our long-term initiatives to save that lake," said LLDA chief and presidential adviser on the environment Secretary Nereus Acosta.

He said siltation must be addressed as soon as possible since Laguna de Bay is already shallow with average depth there ranging between 2.5 meters to three meters only.

"It's very silted there," he noted.

The lake's average depth used to be around 20 meters, he said.

Siltation already reduced Laguna de Bay's water carrying capacity, making this water body more prone to overflows during heavy rainfall.

In 2009, such lake overflowed when storm "Ondoy" struck.

Such overflow left several communities around the lake submerged for weeks.

The administration earlier scrapped its predecessor's P18-billion project to dredge Laguna de Bay, believing a wholistic approach is needed to save this lake.

Merely dredging the lake is a waste of public funds since silt will flow back into that water body after about three years, Acosta noted.

"Causes of siltation must be addressed," he said.

Government's National Greening Program (NGP) provides the opportunity to green Laguna de Bay region.

NGP targets greening by 2016 some 1.5 million hectares of open, denuded and degraded forest land nationwide.

Aside from helping address environmental and socio-economic concerns, NGP aims to help boost the country's campaign against climate change.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide which is among greenhouse gases driving climate change, authorities noted.

Among NGP planting materials are seedlings of indigenous tree species.

Acosta sees need for such species, saying planting these will help restore damaged ecosystems.

"Greening can't be planting fast-growing species only," he said. (PNA)

LAP/CJT/jsd

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