On an early morning, blessed by a stunning blue sky, we were transferred, together with other accredited media representatives from various parts of the world, to the MASJA Lake Compound in Kuching Town, near the Ministry of Tourism building, for the Tree Planting Ceremony Project, run in conjunction with the Rainforest World Music Festival (www.rwmf.net).
Armed with shovels, we dug holes and got to plant our own tree, and later placed a wood sign besides the seedlings with our name and today’s date. Dato’ Rashid Khan, CEO of Sarawak Tourism Board (www.sarawaktourism.com), said that this particular tree, a Cassia Pistula, also known as Golden Shower, takes about 10 years to reach a height of 4 meters, and we take this as an invitation to be back to Kuching regularly and see how these trees are progressing. We were told that various local clubs and social organizations will ensure ‘our’ trees will be taken proper care of.
Sarawak Tourism Board has gained an international standard thanks to their regular green projects, which include several initiatives, and it has decided to continue with this seedlings planting event that has been run for three consecutive years, with an average of 500 trees planted per year. The number of trees planted each year depends on the project participants’ budget, and the venue is identified by experts from the Kuching City Hall according to the area’s soil suitability.
During the following Press Conference, the Assistant Minister of Land Development and Tourism remarked to the crowd of journalists and photographers that their standard policy is to plant three trees every one tree that is cut down, and this is currently even being raised to a 4-to-1 ratio. An impressive number of 2 million trees have been planted within the Kuching Municipality so far.
Some of the foreign representatives praised Sarawak’s incredible environmental efforts and vowed to take them as an example to their countries, and use them to raise awareness in kids who can then become the new generations of green ambassadors of this wonderful planet.
It was an immense pleasure to be there and participate in this green initiative, and we wished Sarawak prosperity and renewed passion for the environment.