DENR National Capital Region, through its West Field Office (WFO), planted 200 bamboo saplings along the banks of Ermitaño Creek in Brgy. Salapan, San Juan City on Tuesday, 27 July 2021.

The activity was coordinated with Kagawad Rodante Malabanan, head of the Clean and Green Committee of Barangay Salapan, and Ms. Malu Olazo, Supervising Environmental Management Specialist from the City Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) of San Juan City.

The planting of bamboo is part of the greening intervention program of the regional office under the Conservation and Development Division (CDD) and is in line with the ongoing cleanup and rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

Bamboo was chosen to help re-green the legal easements of Ermitaño Creek because, apart from their fast growth rate, they are also proven to be effective carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbers. Several studies estimate that the carbon storage capacity of bamboo forests ranges from 100 to 400 tons of carbon per hectare. Likewise, bamboos are resilient and able to thrive on degraded soils and steep slopes where many plants cannot grow, making them suitable for stabilizing riverbanks and preventing soil erosion. The dense root system of bamboo also helps in water filtration and trapping of sediments.

The move, according to Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Cancan, is also following DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu’s directive to prioritize bamboo as a planting material under the Enhanced National Greening Program (E-NGP). “Bamboo’s capacity to reduce carbon and improve the environment is one of the reasons why Sec. Cimatu came out with the order”, Director Caancan explained. “But more than that, bamboo is also noted for its potential in 'phytoremediation', with some bamboo species such as Giant Bamboo (Dendrocalamus asper), Bayog (Bambusa merilliana), and Kawayan Tinik (Bambusa blumeana) being proven as effective in controlling heavy metals in water”, she adds.

Ermitaño Creek is a part of the San Juan River System. It passes through several barangays of San Juan City and Quezon City. Its successful rehabilitation would contribute greatly to the effort to clean and rehabilitate Manila Bay.