Our forests, mountains are part of a lasting legacy

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  • At the time Myanmar gained independence, more than 54.15 per cent of its geographical area was covered in lush forests. These great forests regulated the temperature and other aspects of the climate to create a balance. In addition, they prevented rainwater from being wasted, protected against soil erosion, and provided a thriving environment for local fauna.
    But now, deforestation has caused the climate to change for the worse, and humans and other living beings are facing its negative consequences. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that 42.92 per cent of Myanmar’s land area was covered in forests in 2015. The numbers show that 1.72 per cent of Myanmar’s forests were logged between 2010 and 2015, while 12 per cent of all forests have been cut down since 1957.
    Satellite images from NASA show India and China’s forests have grown back considerably. They have accomplished eco-friendly projects despite being some of the most populated countries in the world, with a pace of natural resource consumption to match, all because of their perseverance. India planted 50 million trees within 24 hours in 2016 with the help of 800,000 volunteers. While our neighbors are making relentless efforts towards reforestation, it is deeply saddening to see illegal logging occurring daily in our own homes.
    With each passing year of deforestation going unchecked, we are seeing an increase in extreme temperatures, shortage of underground springs, and annual floods. A relatively more damaging event is the shrinking or destruction of mountains. We will be utterly devastated to lose our mountains, the cradles of rivers and progenitors of rainclouds, which also help pump out underground wells to turn them into waterfalls. Unlike trees, mountains cannot be replanted.
    We must carefully consider mining or demolishing mountains for natural resources, and unite our efforts towards reforestation. We must also take effective action against illegal logging. The people and the governments of our neighboring countries are working in harmony to make their homes greener and their hearts serener. Meanwhile, Myanmar is facing increasing natural disasters as we are still unable to work collectively.
    While the government plays an important role in conserving our forests and the natural environment, it cannot accomplish these tasks without the support and considerable strength of the people. We urge all citizens to realize the positive changes their actions can bring about and cooperate with each other and the relevant authorities to maintain our land, our home, our nation, not just for ourselves, but for generations to come.
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