By Nur Hamizah Binti Asraf
The best and easy way to save the Earth is through planting of trees. Many global organisations recognised the importance of planting trees.
Tree loss in the most critical tropical areas has increased by 12 percent in 2020 from the previous year, according to data released by Global Forest Watch, an initiative led by the World Resources Institute.
It can be seen that the tropical forest losses overall contributed 2.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide or the equivalent of annual emissions from 570 million cars. It was hoped for 2020 to be the year that everyone to stop the destruction caused to the environment but it gives the opposite result. Malaysia also has had the highest rate of losing trees in 2000 which has affected the environment.
The government of Malaysia targets to plant 100 million trees in five years starting from 2019 under the Greening Malaysia programme This Greening programme is also a pledge and commitment of the government based on the Shared Prosperity Vision to contribute to a greener future, according to the Prime Minister.
Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, the government has allocated RM150 million to finance this programme. This amount was set aside as one of the efforts to conserve and replant the forest that have been exploited. Unfortunately, deforestation continued to take place because not many people are aware of the importance of preserving trees to protect the environment.
Therefore, Malaysians need to be educated on why they should value the importance of trees to their lives. People should be taught to appreciate the continued existence of trees and they should not involve in unnecessary destruction of the forest. If they do not do their responsibility to protect the trees and the forests, people would suffer the consequences of pollution and loss of sources of oxygen which is vital for human survival. The government should also organise more aggressive campaigns to encourage people to plant trees in their home surrounding.
Parents should take the initiative to plant trees with their children on weekend and do this as a family gathering activity once a week or once in a month. This would not only set a good example to the younger generation, but help them to relieve stress, reduce blood pressure and improve mood after working for six days.
Numerous studies have shown that both exercising in the forests and simply sitting looking at trees would help to reduce blood pressure as well as the stress-related hormones cortisol and adrenaline, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation. This will give a good effect to the family member’s mental and body health.
Moreover, planting trees can help make the air around us cool and fresh. The trees also reduce the air temperature and heat because it will absorb carbon dioxide. This means that trees can purify and increase the quality of air around us.
The trees are also important to wildlife. Trees are the place for animals to seek for protection, food and shelter. Many animals have been extinct because of deforestation. Besides that, the trees are also important to avoid natural disaster like flood, landslide and drought.
Trees are vital to the eco-system both above and below the ground. Long-reaching roots help to keep soil in place and prevent erosion. While rainwater is absorbed and stored by trees, resulting in less runoff and sediment deposit during storms. This aids in the replenishment of the groundwater supply as well as the prevention of chemical movement into streams and flooding. Fallen leaves form wonderful compost that is beneficial to the environment.
As responsible citizens we should be more sensitive and play our role in planting trees, preserving the forest, and protecting the environment which are vital for survival of mankind.***