Baguio City Officials Should Instead Endorse All City Trees As Protected Carbon Sinks
By Michael A. Bengwayan
The City government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) can take a step in the right direction by promulgating that all trees in the city, are “protected carbon sinks”.
This is in view of a World Bank announcement that the city has one of the highest pollution levels in the country and that of a University of the Philippines research with Japanese government partners.
The city officials must realize that cities can be of surprising help in soaking up carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas. Urban areas are absent in most calculations of “sinks” where vegetation soaks up CO2 naturally thanks to photosynthesis.
It can appoint capable people and groups to measure the carbon-absorbing capacity of its parks, domestic gardens, abandoned industrial land, golf courses, school playing fields, road verges and river banks.
Tons of carbon were locked up these areas as studies in other countries show annual emissions of cars are likewise important to be calculated. Urban lands’ biological carbon density should not be assumed to be zero.
There is a substantial pool of carbon locked away in the vegetation within a city and the bigger establishments are, like SM, the more carbon footprint they leave. Urban “sinks” are not by themselves a solution to the billions of tonnes of carbon emitted globally but can help mitigate their impact, especially if gardeners grow trees, which absorb far more CO2 than grass and shrubs,
It is is highly proven that if more trees are planted in urban areas for their carbon storage value, they must be the right kind of tree planted in the right place so that they have a long, productive lifespan, and when trees die they should be replaced. This is very true to our own Pinus insularis or Benguet pine tree. City officials must be educated to understand this fact.
Political leaders need to be environmentally educated. For instance, they should know and appreciate that trees have an additional benefit of lowering the temperature locally, providing shade. In contrast, asphalt roads and buildings store solar radiation during the day, encouraging the creation of “urban heat islands” that can add dangerously to the effect of heatwaves on human health./Michael Michael A. Bengwayan