Monday, March 4, 2024
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Brunei Town

Healthy forests for healthy people

James Kon

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin yesterday in his message in conjunction with International Day of Forests urged the public to come together to protect and conserve forests together to ensure it will continue to last for generations.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf said that the United Nations General Assembly declared March 21 as International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and increase awareness.

Forests play a very important role in securing the well-being of human life and other life form.

The theme for this year is ‘Forests and Health’, which the minister highlights the link between forests and their importance to health of humans by providing fresh air, water, food and medicinal plants, as well as stabilise the climate.

Forests, he described, also play a role in providing space for recreational activities such as walking, running and hiking to benefit physical and mental health.

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin. PHOTO: MPRT

The Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT), through the Forestry Department, has taken the initiatives to preserve recreation parks by providing basic facilities such as resting huts, walkways, information signages, parking areas and public toilets.

He said the efforts are made to encourage the community to lead a healthy lifestyle as well as appreciate the beauty and diversity of nature.

The minister also noted that forests around the world are exposed to threats of deforestation, climate change, and illegal logging, which can have negative impacts on the environment.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the rate of deforestation worldwide was estimated at around 10 million hectares per year between 2015 and 2020.

As the lead strategy under the Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy, he said the ministry will continue to preserve and conserve forests by holding planting programmes and committing to sustainable forest management. He also hopes other agencies, including private companies, non-governmental organisations and the public will play their respective roles.

The minister said that a healthy forest will benefit the health of the community, which is relevant to the Brunei Vision 2035 goal of having a clean and green environment to ensure high quality of life.