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India planted 50 million trees in just 24 hours

August 30, 2016

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More than 800,000 volunteers took part in a mass tree-planting exercise in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh last week, attempting to plant 50 million trees in 24 hours

Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav told volunteers assembled in the city of Kannauj: “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.”

The state was hoping to set a world record for trees planted in one day, which was previously set by Pakistan in 2013, with a comparatively paltry 847,275 trees.

The Indian government has earmarked $6.2 billion for tree-planting, aiming to increase forestation in line with agreements made at the Paris climate change summit in 2015.

Edward Parson, environmental law professor at the University of California, told the Christian Science Monitor: “This initiative can be a step towards progress on some level, but it is at best a small contribution to India’s greater climate commitments.”

“The biggest contribution of this tree planting project is, apart from the tokenism, that it focuses on the major issues,” added Dr. Anit Mukherjee, policy fellow with the Center for Global Development. “It addresses many of the big issues for India: Pollution, deforestation, and land use.”

Officials involved with the project told the Associated Press that roughly 60 per cent of the saplings planted are expected to survive, with the rest expected to die due to disease or lack of water.

It could take up to two months for the Guinness Book of World Records to verify whether the Uttar Pradesh project has broken Pakistan’s record.

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