Laag with a Purpose
Coastal intertidal zones are home to various plants and shrubs known as mangroves. Mangrove trees have around 80 different species. All of these trees are found in soils with low oxygen content and slow-moving water, which allows for the buildup of fine particles. The inability of mangrove forests to resist subfreezing temperatures prevents them from growing anywhere other than tropical and subtropical latitudes close to the equator. Many mangrove forests can be identified by their tangle of prop roots, which give the trees the appearance of being raised above the water.
Most mangroves experience flooding at least twice a day due to the tangle of roots that help the trees cope with the daily rise and fall of tides. The roots slow down the tidal waters, which causes debris to settle out of the water and thicken the muddy bottom. Mangrove trees stabilize the coastline to prevent erosion from storm surges, currents, waves, and tides. Fish and other species seeking food and safety from predators are drawn to mangrove forests because of their extensive root systems.
On 24 July 2022, the Safety, Health, and Environment Committee (SHEC), in collaboration with Grievance and Decorum & Investigation on Sexual Harassment Committee (GRIEDISHCO), conducted and participated in Mangrove Planting, in celebration of World Ocean Month, in Zone 6, Brgy. Bula, General Santos City.
According to Mr. Marlon Salmorin, the project manager of Zone 6 Fisherman Association of Brgy. Bula, General Santos City, and mangroves are trees that grow in seawater. Planting mangroves can help a lot in our environment. The mangroves prevent strong currents, serve as natural habitats for small fishes, absorb more Carbon Dioxide (CO2), and they absorb more sea garbage. According to him, there are four varieties of mangroves in Zone 6, Brgy. Bula, General Santos City: 1. Bakawan, which is classified into Bakawan Lalaki and Bakawan Babae; 2. Pagatpat; 3. Bungalon; and Tungog.
The mangrove saplings were sold as an entrance fee to tourists in the area, and the fund from selling the saplings was used for the development of the site.
After the activity, the participant was asked what have they learned and realized during the activity. Mrs. Shenna Mae C. Maghinay stated that “It is overwhelming to know that simple things such as mangrove planting can help the community, not only to nature but also to the people as it can be a source of income.”
Ms. Chariza Ambong answered the same question, “I have learned the different kinds of Mangroves and the importance of planting them. Mangroves protect shorelines from damaging storm and hurricane winds, waves, and floods. Mangroves also help prevent erosion by stabilizing sediments with their tangled root systems. They maintain water quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land. And I realized that the more we plant mangroves, the more we can prevent unforeseen circumstances in an area and we can breathe fresh air all the time.”
Ms. Eula Mae Balbarona also stated that “The tree planting activity commemorated the semi-annual series of planting activities and will surely be just the start of more initiatives in the future. Mangrove plants can help refresh the air and protect the sea from pollution abruptly entering, and how mangrove reservoirs serve as natural breeding habitats for fish. Planting is not an easy job, even though you give your all, you will not know if that plant will grow and develop or not.”
According to Mr. Arjun Dango, “I’ve learned a lot from the orientation, from the kind and varieties of a mangrove tree, to how to properly plant the saplings, to factors that contribute to its mortality, and its effect on our environment. But what I’ve realized from our activity is knowledge with effort and care will always be the solution to ease the environmental problem we encounter nowadays. Let us not stop here. Let’s educate and spread awareness. Let’s act and help our environment, not just for us but also for the future of our youth.”
Mangrove Planting is one of the proposed Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) of the Safety, Health, and Environment Committee that was approved by Ms. Jannah Krystia H. Lu, the President of Mommy Gina Tuna Resources Inc. The purpose of this CSR activity is to help the environment as well as the community, by engaging in planting mangroves and raising awareness in the community.
This activity can be considered as “Laag with a purpose” or Wander with a purpose, wherein the participants, who are also employees of MGTRI and its affiliated companies, can wander and contribute to the community and environment.