• How Many New Trees Are Being Planted in India?

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How Many New Trees Are Being Planted in India?

Jul 10 2017

While US President Donald Trump has been ruffling feathers over at the G20 conference with his refusal to adhere to the requirements of the Paris climate agreement, India has signalled its intention to fulfil its own promises.

One of the country’s chief commitments was to reforest 235 million acres (roughly equivalent to 95 million hectares) by 2030. Last week, the nation took a huge step towards achieving that target by planting a whopping 66 million trees in just 12 hours.

A record-breaking effort

The initiative was led by the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Working in cooperation with 24 other districts which border the Narmada River, Madhya Pradesh was able to gather together in excess of 1.5 million volunteers.

Working from 7am to 7pm, the volunteers planted a total of 66,300,000 saplings, or 6.63 crores – an Indian unit denoting ten million. A variety of different species were planted, all within drinking distance of the Narmada River. It’s hoped that the placement of the trees will allow the majority of them to reach adulthood, as the dry climate in central India often makes plant cultivation a difficult task.

Although it has not been 100% verified as yet, it’s widely expected that the gargantuan effort will dwarf the previous record holder for number of trees planted in a single day – which is also held by India. Just last year, the state of Uttar Pradesh planted almost 50 million trees in under 24 hours, which had been the largest amount by any nation… until now.

Changing its image

For many years, India has wrestled with a poor reputation for environmentalism. A rapidly increasing population and a booming economy has meant that much of the country (especially megacities such as New Delhi) suffer from excessive levels of pollution, including nitrous oxides (NOx) and particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5).

However, India appears to be taking its commitments to the Paris agreement seriously. As well as devoting $6.2 billion USD (£4.82 billion) to planting new trees all over the country, Prime Minister Narenda Modi has also pledged to ensure that 40% of all energy will be derived from renewable sources by 2030, as well.

The majority of that power is expected to come from solar panels, with the Indian government receiving substantial loans from a variety of investors for solar projects last year. The country has also introduced a number of measures aimed at reducing pollution levels in the worst-affected areas. These include phasing out the more heavily-polluting buses and taxis, banning the sale of fireworks and encouraging the use of public transport.

While the country still has some distance to go, their Prime Minister has made his intentions to honour his Paris accord obligations clear. That attitude is a breath of fresh air in comparison to America’s Commander-in-Chief, whose global popularity wanes by the day.   

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