The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with the various stakeholder groups to plant 6,000 seedlings comprising of narra, goldern shower and pili species at the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), from Calamba, Laguna to Sto. Tomas, Batangas.

Some 700 volunteers from the DENR, South Luzon Tollway Corporation, the local government units of Calamba in Laguna and Sto. Tomas in Batangas, and the Rotary Clubs of Makati Rockwell and San Francisco del Monte took part in greening the five kilometer-stretch of the expressway Saturday (Oct. 1).

DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje expressed appreciation for the continuing support the country’s various sectors are extending to the National Greening Program, saying the program is the government’s response to international calls to address global problems like climate change and biodiversity loss with local actions.

“The NGP is designed to address global as well as local problems. By planting more trees, we are enhancing the absorbing capacity of our forests for carbon dioxide, which is considered the major driver of global warming and climate change,” Paje explained.

The greening of SLEX, said Paje, serves an important tool to mitigate climate change as the trees would sequester the carbon dioxide emitted by motor vehicles plying the expressway.

With the theme, Greener and Litter-free Tollways, the tree planting started at 8 o’clock in the morning. On hand to lead their volunteers in the activity included Jerome Vinarao of the RC-Makati Rockwell; Isaac David, president of South Luzon Tollway Corp.; former DENR Undersecretary Rolando Metin; DENR Assistant Secretary Marlo Mendoza; Emelita Aguinaldo of the National Solid Waste Commission; and DENR-PENRO Cid Mercado.