India Attempts to Plant 50 Million Trees in 24 Hours

July 18, 2016 | Erica Tennenhouse

As part of a ceremony, women plant new saplings, their young daughter eager to help.
Photo credit: McKay Savage/Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)

Fighting climate changing while shattering a world record.

More than 800,000 volunteers from Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, joined forces last week to plant 50 million trees in just 24 hours.

"The world has realized 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," said Uttar Pradesh's top elected official, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, according to the Associated Press.

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The Telegraph reports that the previous world record for trees planted in one day was set by Pakistan in 2013 with only 847,275 trees. It will  take some time for the Guinness Book of World Records to check the numbers and verify whether India has beaten Pakistan's record.

Senior forest official Sanjeev Saran says that sapling survival will be monitored through aerial photographs. Only 60 percent of the saplings are expected to survive, with the rest likely to die from disease or lack of water.

India's government is encouraging all 29 states increase the country's forest cover in line with commitments made at Paris climate change summit in 2015. The government has designated more than $6.2 billion for tree planting across the country over the next 15 years.

Though the emphasis on breaking the world record suggests that publicity was a motivating factor, this reforestation initiative is still a small step for India towards achieving its greater climate change goals.

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