Last month, 800,000 volunteers gathered in an attempt to plant 50 million trees in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and they succeeded. While this environmentally friendly endeavor has yet to be assessed by the Guinness World Records, Indian officials have reported that the volunteers planted a staggering 49.3 million saplings in under 24 hours.
This greatly surpasses the previous record of 847,275 trees set by Pakistan in 2013.
India Plants 50 MILLION Trees In One Day, Sets New World Record
800,000 volunteers from Uttar Pradesh toiled for 24 hours to plant 80 different tree species along roads, railways, and on public land. The saplings came from local nurseries.
Aiming to battle increasing deforestation, the Indian government allotted $6.2 billion for tree-planting, which goes along with previous agreements made at the Paris climate change summit in 2015.
Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav told volunteers a difficult but necessary truth: “The world has realised that serious efforts are needed to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of global climate change. Uttar Pradesh has made a beginning in this regard.”
India made a commitment to plant more trees at the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015. It formally signed this agreement on Earth Day 2016, agreeing to spend $6 billion to increase forestation on 12% of its land, which would total 235 million acres by 2030, or 29% of the country’s land.
Trees have many benefits to us, namely, providing us with oxygen so that we can breathe. However, trees also absorb carbon dioxide from the air, which decreases the greenhouse gasses present in the atmosphere. Sadly, India continues to see deforestation as corporations and farmers tear down the trees for development and pasturing. They’ve taken heed from the environment, however, and decided to do something now about the ever-increasing deforestation throughout the country.
Other countries around the globe seem to be following suit. In December, for example, African nations pledged to reforest 100 million hectares. Even more promising and uplifting, many stakeholders from different companies around the globe signed the New York Declaration of Forests that month, which aims to cut deforestation in half by 2020 and eliminate it altogether by 2030. Furthermore, the declaration calls for reforesting at least 350 million hectares with healthy forests.
As far as the trees in India go, however, they will need a lot of water and upkeep in order to survive. Saplings have mortality rates as high as 40 percent after such a massive undertaking in tree planting. The officials say they been made aware of the concerns and will monitor the trees using aerial photography so that they can pinpoint which areas need the most care.
The officials hope the air quality in India will improve due to the massive planting of trees, but it should, seeing as trees absorb greenhouse gasses. India suffers from some of the worst air quality in the world, with 6 of the top 10 most polluted cities lying in the country’s borders.
1.25 billion people live in the state of Uttar Pradesh, making it the most populated state in the nation. With this massive tree planting project finished, the residents hope to breathe easier and rest under the shade of the many trees.
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“The biggest contribution of this tree planting project is, apart from the tokenism, that it focuses on the major issues,” Anit Mukherjee, policy fellow with the Centre for Global Development told the Telegraph. “It addresses many of the big issues for India: pollution, deforestation, and land use.”