The people of Ethiopia have set a new record of planting more than 350 million trees in 12 hours on Monday, reported The Guardian.
The tree plantation drive was part of the Green Legacy scheme which is a wider reforestation campaign spearheaded by the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. It saw mass tree planting taking place at 1,000 sites across the country.
Millions of Ethiopians across the country were invited to take part in the challenge. Within, the first six hours, Ahmed tweeted that around 150 million trees had been planted. He himself planted trees in Ethiopia’s southern region.
“We’re halfway to our goal,” he wrote on Twitter and encouraged Ethiopians to “build on the momentum in the remaining hours.”
After twelve hours, the Ethiopian Prime Minister took to Twitter again to announce that Ethiopia not only met its “collective #GreenLegacy goal,” but exceeded it.
A total of 353,633,660 tree seedlings had been planted, the country’s minister for innovation and technology, Getahun Mekuria, tweeted.
The initial goal was to plant 200 million trees in one day. The tree-planting campaign aims to plant 4 billion trees between May and October.
According to Farm Africa, an organization involved in forest management in Ethiopia, less than four percent of the country’s land is now forested, a sharp decline from around 30 percent at the end of the 19th century.
The Green Legacy initiative aims to help restore Ethiopia’s landscape, which has been adversely affected by deforestation and climate change. The rapid increase in deforestation can be attributed to Ethiopia’s rapidly growing population, the need for more farmlands, unsustainable forest use, and climate change. Notably, around eighty percent of Ethiopia’s population depends on agriculture as a livelihood.
Back in 2017, India set the world record when around 1.5 million volunteers planted 66 million in 12 hours.