Charcoal trade, fishponds tagged mangroves’ worst foesBy Delfin T. Mallari Jr.
Inquirer Southern Luzon
LUCENA CITY—Charcoal production and commercial fishponds are being tagged as among the major causes of the depletion of mangrove trees in Quezon’s coastal areas.
“Charcoal production from mangrove trees has become a major source of income for coastal villagers due to demand from the lechon business. But we’re now making headway in our efforts to stop the illegal trade,” said Manny Calayag, community coordinator of the Quezon-Environment and Natural Resources Office (Quezon-Enro).
He said the Quezon Environment and Enforcement Group, with national government agencies and police, had set up checkpoints along Maharlika Highway to discourage the transport of products from illegally cut mangrove trees.
“The local governments have also introduced other forms of livelihood to coastal residents,” he said.
Calayag also said widespread conversion of mangrove areas into fishponds had also contributed to the mangroves’ destruction.
Last May, the Quezon-Enro discovered the cutting of 100-year-old mangrove trees in Agdangan town for fishpond expansion.
To rehabilitate the destroyed mangrove areas, the provincial government has scheduled the planting of two million mangrove propagules on June 30 along Quezon’s 1,066-kilometer coastline.
The northern part of the province is sandwiched between the Sierra Madre mountain range and the Philippine Sea. Tayabas Bay and Ragay Gulf lie on its southern part.
Quezon Gov. David Suarez said at least 22,000 Quezon residents had already registered as participants in the event.
Calayag said volunteers from Metro Manila and
Calabarzon region were listing up, too.
“Our phone lines (042-710-7014) and e-mail(email@example.com) are all busy receiving queries from civic groups, NGOs, youth groups, Greek-lettered organizations on how they could participate in the historic activity,” he said.
Romulo Edaño, Quezon-Enro officer in charge, said his office is ready with the two million propagules for distribution in different planting sites.