AGRIBUSINESS

Bamboo can help boost local economy while rehabilitating mined-out areas

Photo from James Wheeler/Pexels

By RALPH LAUREN ABAINZA

Bamboo is a fast-growing grass known for having a variety of uses ranging from food sources to construction materials. More and more countries are also recognizing the potential of bamboo in restoring damaged ecosystems. In the Philippines, bamboo is now being used in restoring mined-out areas. 

During a webinar conducted by Kilusang 5K Foundation, Inc., advocates and experts shared their insights on the business prospects of bamboo in the mining sector. In his opening statement, Kilusang 5K Foundation Executive Director Rene Madarang highlighted bamboo’s potential to alleviate the adverse impacts of mining operations on the environment such as in preventing soil erosion, sequestration of carbon dioxide, and reducing the concentration of metals and other toxic substances in the soil.

Dr. Orlex Yllano from the National Research Council of the Philippines shared that phytoremediation, or the use of plants to reduce concentrations of contaminants in the environment, is one of the best methods to revitalize soil in mined-out areas. Furthermore, some species of bamboo were found to have the potential to accumulate metals and help in reducing their concentration in the soil. “Bamboos are indeed promising candidate phytoremediation species because of their rich genetic diversity, amenable to phytoremediation and bioremediation protocols, and promising biological attributes for phytoremediation. However, more research must be done to validate their phytoremediation potential,” he shared. 

Isidro Alcantara, former Chairman of Marcventures Mining, shared that aside from using bamboo for phytoremediation, local communities can also venture into large-scale bamboo farming as an additional livelihood. Bamboo planted by companies in mined-out areas can eventually be harvested by local communities for other uses. “There may be no need to subsidize bamboo plantation workers’ salaries since the mine will provide employment until bamboo is ready for harvest,” he shared. 

World Bamboo Ambassador Atty. Dulce Punzalan wrapped up the forum by highlighting the importance of collaboration between the industry, the academe, and the government to capacitate local communities in realizing the full potential of the bamboo industry in the Philippines.

You can watch the webinar here.

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