265 trees planted to mark Earth Day

National 2 minutes, 28 seconds


A TOTAL of 265 tree saplings were planted yesterday in celebration of the Earth Day 2015 at the open park area by the Berakas River along the Hassanal Bolkiah Highway in Mukim Berakas A.

This adds to the 400 tree saplings planted in 2013 during the park’s first phase, said Kim Hon Bangau, Senior Landscape Architect of the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe), yesterday.

Landscape decorations were also introduced at several strategic locations in the area.

With the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe) leading the Earth Day 2015 celebration, the landscaping project for the open space area at Sungai Berakas entered its second phase, which centres on community involvement.

Kim, who spoke to The Brunei Times on the sidelines of the event, said that for the second phase, they brought in schools’ eco-clubs, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and government departments to be part of Earth Day 2015, which carried the theme “It’s Our Turn To Lead”.

JASTRe’s initiative in enhancing the involvement of the community in green activities was aimed at instilling the sense of stewardship.

“We want people to have a sense of ownership, responsibility and awareness on the importance of trees and the environment. The tree planting event allows them to see how hard planting trees can be, and for them to have a sense of appreciation for these trees,” she said.

The tree saplings were planted by staff from the Ministry of Development as well as youths from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), schools’ eco-clubs, Brunei Environmental Youth Envoys (Brunei EYE), Mukim Berakas A Consultative Council members and NGOs such as Women’s Institute of Brunei Darussalam (WI) and Green Brunei.

The tree saplings chosen for yesterday’s event include three types, Kim said, adding that once the trees mature, they will provide shade. These tree saplings are ‘Peltophorum pterocarpum’ (Yellow Flame), the flowering ‘Tabebuia rosea’, and the native Brunein tree ‘Agatis’.

“Planting native trees will bring back biodiversity (such as birds) to the park,” she said, noting it will take years for the trees to mature.

“For example, if you look at the Tabebuia rosea trees lining the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah highway, they are about the same age as the highway itself. It took more than 30 years to mature and you can see the trees flowering now. So you can imagine the time needed for a tree to grow that big,” Kim said.

All maintenance works, which include cutting grasses, watering and fertilising the plants, will be done by JASTRe.

“Because of the recent drought, the leaves of the trees are a bit dry but they will survive. For this new planting, we installed a water tank to facilitate maintenance,” she said. Kim hoped that visitors to the park will maintain the facility’s cleanliness.

“We want people to come here. Some come to jog, take a leisure walk and even fish. However, please do not litter, and bring your litter home (for proper disposal).”

The Brunei Times