Ethiopia has planted more than 350 million trees in 12 hours, surpassing the record previously held by India where 50 million trees were planted in 12 hours in 2017. This comes under an initiative known as “Green Legacy”, which was started by the Ably Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. More than 20 African countries including Ethiopia started a campaign for African Forest Landscape Restoration, which aimed to restore 100 million hectares of land.
Ethiopia sits behind Nigeria for the highest population among the African countries and more than 75% of the country’s population is dependent upon agriculture for their livelihood. According to a recent survey carried out by one of the organizations working on reforestation in Eastern Africa, forest covers around 5% of Ethiopia’s land currently, which is markedly less than 30% during the 1990s. Such deforestation has led to soil erosion and degradation throughout the country leading to floods and droughts.
The Prime Minister of Ethiopia launched the initiative with a goal to plant four billion trees across the country before the rainy season ends. On 29th July 2019, the people of Ethiopia were urged to take part in the campaign by planting 200 million trees within 12 hours with several schools and offices were closed with a view to encouraging people to engage in this campaign. It caught the eye of people from each and every sector in the country as everyone participated in their own way to raise awareness and combat deforestation.
The milestone of 200 million trees for the day was achieved relatively quickly and it surpassed all expectations when the Ethiopian officials announced that a total of 353,633,660 seedlings were planted within 12 hours, which according to them is a new world record beating India in the process, where 50 million trees had been planted within 12 hours in 2017.
A study conducted by Swiss scientists was published in the journal ‘Science’ in June, which highlights a potential and cheap solution for fighting global-warming could to be to plant as many trees as possible. This study states that the new trees would have the capability to suck the heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the environment and urges people to plant as many as one trillion trees to address the issue of global warming and the potential effects it would have going into the future. Ethiopia certainly is doing its fair share of responsibility in this sense and it would be encouraging to see many more other countries join the initiative soon.