On World Bamboo Day 2019, a huge number of countries took part in recognising the potential of ‘green gold’.
18 September 2019 – Traditionally considered ‘poor man’s timber’, in recent years bamboo’s image has undergone a remarkable transformation. Fast-growing, flexible and strong, bamboo can be used to create a wide range of products, from socks to single-use plastic. In infrastructure, durable bamboo materials are replacing steel and cement as a low-carbon alternative for flooring, housing, drainage pipes and more.
But bamboo is more than just useful products. With over 30 million hectares spread across the tropics and subtropics, this grass plant can provide a nature-based solution for poverty alleviation, environmental protection and climate change mitigation. With the support of INBAR, governments around the world are using bamboo to fight desertification, conserve biodiversity, and provide a source of income to millions of people in rural areas.
Since it was first established 10 years ago, World Bamboo Day has been celebrated by a large number of INBAR Member States. The below are just a few examples of the many ways in which countries marked World Bamboo Day 2019:
Unsurprisingly for a country with some of the world’s largest bamboo resources, India was very active in World Bamboo Day celebrations, with several states marking the occasion.
On 18 September, Karnataka state announced a new Rs 50,000 incentive to farmers growing bamboo trees on their land. The scheme aims to encourage the growth of the bamboo sector, including incense sticks, activated carbon and furniture.
Meanwhile, in Dumka, a city in the eastern state of Jharkhand, hundreds of people attended a two-day Bamboo Artisans Conclave, where the region’s chief minister announced an INR 200 million [c. USD 3 million] new bamboo park. According to the minister, planting bamboo is part of the state’s aim “to contribute to the state and national economic growth.” And speaking at an event in Telegana, the state Energy Minister G. Jagadish Reddy urged people to replace plastic products with bamboo.
In Myanmar, international guests from China, India, Indonesia and Thailand attended a World Bamboo Day celebration at Yangon University. And in the Philippines, the Manila Times used 18 September to promote a new ASEAN bamboo network, which was launched at a recent congress.
On World Bamboo Day, INBAR co-hosted an event with the Dragonfly Design Centre at its striking ‘Bamboo Eye’ in the International Horticultural Exhibition 2019. This day-long programme explored various aspects of bamboo material development, and its design and industrial applications. As a satellite program of the Beijing Design Week, the exhibition and activities aimed to present bamboo as a low-carbon, eco-friendly and future-facing design material, that will help tackle the challenges of climate change and environmental pollution.
East Africa has abundant bamboo resources, and a number of INBAR’s regional Member States are part of a trilateral project to develop the region’s bamboo sector.
Uganda was one of several INBAR Member States to celebrate World Bamboo Day. According to a recent resource-mapping project conducted by INBAR, Uganda boasts over 55,000 hectares of bamboo. Earlier this year, the country adopted its first National Bamboo Strategy in a bid to formalise and expand bamboo production. To mark World Bamboo Day, Uganda-based social enterprise Divine Bamboo conducted a training workshop on bamboo’s potential, and gave away more than 2000 seedlings to farmers. The workshop is part of the organisation’s ambitious plans to “plant half a million bamboos by 2020.”
At the same time, in Kenya, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Keriako Tobiko, officiated a World Bamboo Day ceremony which celebrated the plant’s potential for climate resilience and green business.
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