Green group inspects Manila parks amid plan to remove Arroceros Park

Nilad, an environmentalist group based in Metro Manila, kicked off today a walking tour that aims to document the state of parks in the metropolis  and preserve the city’s remaining green spaces.

Dubbed as ‘Green Walk,’ the group would hold similar activities in various cities of Metro Manila in the days to come to also promote the expansion of the green corridor in the country’s premier urban center.

The Green Walk covered the Mehan Garden and Arroceros Park in Manila. Participants took photographs of various plants and flower species in the two parks and posted the things they had documented on their social media accounts using the hashtag #GreenMetroManila.

Volunteers from different green groups including Earth Island Institute, Save Freedom Island Movement, Kalikasan Youth from University of Makati, Saribuhay from UP Manila, Student Christian Movement from St. Theresa’s College and Miriam College participated Nilad’s event today.

Green Walk volunteers early at the park. Photo by Kathy Yamzon,
Green Walk volunteers early at the park. Photo by Kathy Yamzon,

“The Green Walk aims to inspect the park’s conditions and its accessibility, conduct a simple inventory of plants and trees, while enjoying the tour with fellow green walkers,” says Kevin Paul Aguayon, spokesperson of Nilad.

He added, “Metro Manila’s green spaces are rapidly endangered due to poor urban planning and governmental inattention. This worsens the negative impact of soaring pollution levels in the country’s leading urban hub.”

Nilad also noted that there is a need to embed ‘green space’ planning at both local and national levels of government that will guarantee the prioritization of environment protection and green space expansion in the country, particularly in Metro Manila.

Through the Green Walk, Nilad hopes to crowdsource the real-time monitoring of parks in order to inform the public and authorities about the value of preserving our green spaces.

A lot of green in this photo, but so little elsewhere in Metro Manila. Photo by Kathy Yamzon.
A lot of green in this photo, but so little elsewhere in Metro Manila. Photo by Kathy Yamzon.

Save Arroceros Park

Nilad’s Green Walk event also called for the protection of Arroceros Park amid plans to build a school facility in the area. The group also aired their opposition against the plan as they remind the local government of the long-term effects once the said park will be removed.

Arroceros Forest Park is an urban forest park and is often called the ‘last lung’ of Manila.

The 2.2-hectare park was developed in 1993 and consisted of secondary growth forest with 61 different tree varieties and 8,000 ornamental plants providing a habitat for 10 different bird species.

Aguayon said, “We are not against development, but projects that would improve infrastructures like buildings and expressways must go along with the protection of the environment and preservation of our green spaces.”

“We urge the authorities both in the national and local governments to take their hands off the Manila Arroceros Park and construct additional school building and facilities elsewhere,” added Aguayon.

The Arroceros Park is located near the Quiapo Bridge in Lawton, Manila just along the Pasig River and across the Park and Ride terminal within the Mehan Botanical Garden vicinity.

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