Volunteers in India planted more than 66 million trees in just 12 hours in a record-breaking environmental drive. About 1.5 million people were involved in the huge plantation campaign, in which saplings were placed along the Narmada River in India.
The mass planting was put in motion as part of a strategy by the Indian government to tackle climate change. The effort was part of India’s commitment to the Paris Climate Conference in 2015. In that agreement, India agreed to spend $6 billion to regrow forests on 12% of the country’s land and bring total forest cover up to 29%.
“The world has realized that serious efforts are needed to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of global climate change,” said Akhilesh Yadav, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, speaking at an event promoting the planting.
According to a study by the World Health Organization, six of the 10 most polluted cities on Earth are in India. It’s hoped that the trees will improve the country’s air quality. Trees are known to remove pollutants from the air in addition to converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. There is also evidence that urban trees can reduce power consumption by shading buildings in summer, and blocking cold winds in the winter.
— ShivrajSingh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) July 2, 2017
India is not the only country to make a commitment to reforestation. In December 2015, African nations promised to expand forested land to up to 100 million hectares. In the same month, a wide range of interested parties, from companies to countries, signed the New York Declaration of Forests. Though non-binding, the agreement aims to halve deforestation by 2020 and bring it to an end by 2030. It also sets an objective to reforest at least 350 million hectares of land.