Urban reforestation, key to the future of Puebla

Cities face significant environmental challenges and urban reforestation is presented as a key solution to improve the quality of life of their inhabitants. That is why, in the framework of World Tree Day, celebrated on June 28, we have a great opportunity to reflect on the public policies implemented in Puebla, as well as in the country, to promote urban reforestation and its impact on the environment and the community.

Green areas are of utmost importance for cities in the world, since in addition to contributing to ecological balance, they improve environmental quality, elevate the scenic beauty of the urban environment and provide important qualities of identity and legibility of the image of the city.

Some of the benefits of green areas are the improvement of air quality, since trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, in addition to helping regulate the climate and mitigate the heat island effect in cities, providing habitats for various species and contributing to human well-being, since green spaces improve the mental and physical health of residents.

In this sense, it is essential to implement policies for the care, maintenance, and protection of urban green areas, as well as reforestation, a task in which municipalities have a primary role.

In this regard, the General Law on Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection highlights the right and social responsibility to achieve a balanced environment. Article 8 mentions that the municipality is responsible for the creation and administration of green areas, and also highlights that the Federation, with the support of state and municipal governments, should promote the involvement and participation of different social groups in the creation and evaluation of environmental improvement programs.

Unfortunately, it is a reality that in most municipalities in our country, the concept of green areas remains subordinate to the issue of necessary, but dispensable, urban equipment. The above is despite the existence of an Official Mexican Standard NOM-001-SEDATU-2021 which points out the importance of creating interconnection between public spaces and encouraging social participation through consultation, opinion and deliberation to determine priorities and projects on public space.

In this regard, María del Socorro Ramírez, in her research on “Urban green areas of Puebla and its metropolitan area. Factors that explain its socio-environmental multifunctionality” explains that the role of municipal policies, together with the allocation of resources for maintenance practices, determine the general conditions of vegetation, which affects the regulation of the care of urban green areas in their design and implementation of vegetation, in the best of cases.

“In the worst of them, it restricts the diversity of species that will be placed in the open spaces of the city, giving shape and structure to urban green areas that will or will not provide socio-environmental benefits.”

Maria del Socorro Ramirez

The Land Use and Urban Development Law of the State of Puebla refers to green areas as part of the public space, stipulating that priority must be given to the design, adaptation, maintenance and protection of public spaces, always taking into account the evolution of the city. This law contemplates principles of public policy, mainly that of protection and progressiveness of public space, which recognizes the importance of these spaces for coexistence, recreation and citizen security, with the aim of their protection, creation and maintenance.

For its part, the Climate Change Law of the State of Puebla considers actions to adapt to the phenomenon such as the increase of green areas, the implementation of actions that reduce the heat island phenomenon and the protection of natural vegetation.

In this same sense, the Law for the Protection of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development of the State of Puebla has as one of its principles of environmental public policy that every person has the right to enjoy a natural environment suitable for development, health and well-being, therefore the authorities will take the necessary measures to preserve this right, consequently, they must assume responsibility and environmental protection.

In this sense, each administration, both at the state and municipal level, has undertaken various reforestation programs to plant thousands of trees in urban and peri-urban areas, in addition to existing legislation. However, it is necessary to reinforce the work with educational campaigns to raise awareness among the population about the importance of reforestation and tree care, in collaboration with schools and universities to ensure the participation of young people.

Likewise, governments must work together with non-governmental organizations and the private sector to maximize reforestation efforts, such as ensuring the long-term care of planted trees, obtaining the necessary resources to continue and expand reforestation programs, in addition to maintaining and increasing citizen awareness and participation.

Also, opportunities must be taken such as using advanced technologies to improve reforestation practices, in addition to expanding it to suburban and rural areas, as well as promoting studies that evaluate the impact of policies in this area.

Let us not ignore these urgent actions so that Puebla continues to advance towards a greener and more sustainable future.

Source: angulo7