MEDAN, Indonesia - Sensing the increasing ecological fears in Indonesia, new couples in the south Asian country will have to plant a tree before they are granted a marriage permit amid efforts to protect their environment, the BBC reported on Friday, February 10.
"The policy has a noble purpose, and it is necessary to support the government's tree-planting program," Iwan Zulhami, an official at the religious affairs office, said.
The "environmentally-friendly" initiative was announced by the religious affairs office in the Sumatran capital of Medan.
Applying the new policy from March, these trees would be planted at the couples' home, Zulhami added.
One official estimated that Medan will get at least 2,000 new trees each month as a result of the plan.
Aside from Medan city, the new policy would be applied in a number of districts on Sulawesi Island. It is unclear how the new initiative will be policed.
Indonesia is the largest forest nation in South-eastern Asia with 120 million hectares of rainforest.
Forest fires have long been an annual event in Indonesia during the dry season, and have several times shifted haze pollution to neighboring countries, such as Singapore and Malaysia.
Date shows that Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, is also facing over-exploitation of marine resources in which destructive fishing and blast corral reefs has degraded not only the ecosystem, but also affected the vast number of marine species that depend on them.
Environmental issues in Indonesia are associated with the country's high population and rapid industrialization, in which deforestation and illegal logging have made Indonesia the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that Indonesia, from 2000 to 2005, lost a massive 1.87 million hectares of forest every year.
According to forest ministry data, about 3.25 million hectares of mangrove forest has been in critical condition in Indonesia out of 7.76 million hectares.