The Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has planted a whopping 66 million trees in a day, beating the previous record of 50 trees (also held by India).
It was a massive citizen involvement, as more than 1.5 million people from all circles of society chipped in to plant the 66,750,000 tree saplings in just 12 hours. In total, 24 districts of the Narmada river basin were chosen for the planting, to increase the likelihood of survival for the trees. The saplings were provided by different nurseries around the state and featured over 20 different species.
The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan was also a part of the event and helped popularize it. He attended four different planting parties, thanking everyone involved.
“I am greatly indebted to all who are planting trees today. We will be contributing significantly in saving nature. By participating in a plantation, people are contributing their bit to climate change initiatives and saving the environment.”
Aside from the main benefit of planting trees, authorities also want this event to raise awareness and help India achieve its ambitious environmental objectives. As part of the Paris Agreement, India pledged to increase forest cover to 95 million hectares (235 million acres) by 2030 — that’s an area as big as Pakistan and South Korea put together — and it’s pretty well on course for that. Already, the state of Kerala has planted more than 10 million trees in a single day, and Maharashtra will plant 40 million trees this year in a reforestation campaign. The country has a budget of $6.2 billion for this effort. It’s a contribution to the solving of a global problem.
Aside from contributing to India’s efforts towards reducing its impact and respecting the Paris Agreement, the trees are expected to improve the air quality in the state.
This isn’t something isolated, but it’s part of a much larger movement in India. The developing country has been taking strides in terms of renewable energy generation and improving sustainability. India, which is already the world’s 3rd largest polluter (after China and the US) still greatly depends on coal, but has been slowing down its coal consumption and focusing more on renewables. Solar energy has gotten so cheap in India that the country is expected to become one of the (if not the) largest market for solar energy in the world.