Ethiopia has planted more than 350 million trees in 12 hours on Monday. Official sources from the country said that this has broken the current world record held by India. In 2017, India had set a world record by planting 66 million trees in just 12 hours in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The claim remains to be verified by the Guinness Book of Records.
Ethiopia’s Green Legacy
According to The Guardian, the tree plantation drive was part of Ethiopia’s reforestation campaign named ‘Green Legacy’, initiated by the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, which aims to grow four billion trees in the country this summer by encouraging every citizen to plant at least 40 seedlings. According to Farm Africa, an organisation involved in forest management in Ethiopia, the country’s forest coverage declined from 35% of its total land in the early 20th century to a little above 4% in the 2000s. The landlocked African nation has faced severe environmental problems including land degradation, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, desertification, recurrent drought, flood and water, and air pollution.
Promotional videos were aired on the state media urging the public to plant and care for trees, reported BBC. Some public offices were shut down to allow civil servants to take part in the initiative. Officials were assigned to count the seedlings being planted by volunteers.
On Monday, Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology Dr Getahun Mekuria tweeted the estimates of the number of trees planted throughout the day.
— Dr.-Ing. Getahun Mekuria (@DrGetahun) July 29, 2019
Plantation drive in other countries
With the crisis of climate change looming large over us, several countries have been pushing for plantation drives. Under the Paris Climate Agreement, India has pledged to increase its forests by 95 million hectares by 2030. More than 10 million trees will be planted across England with the injection of £60m of new funding over five years, as part of what the government billed as its ‘drive to preserve the country’s greenery’, The Guardian reported. In August 2017, way ahead of schedule, Pakistan had hit its target of planting a billion trees to combat the effects of climate change. In 2018, the country decided to launch a new target – planting 10 billion trees in the next five years, says a BBC report.
The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that an increase of 1 billion hectares of forest will be necessary to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2050. A study by Crowther Lab of ETH Zurich University based on 80,000 images across the world calculated that for reforestation, about 0.9 billion hectares of land would be suitable.