Officials say that over 350 million trees have been planted in Ethiopia within a 12-hour span, potentially breaking the world record for the most trees planted in one day.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is at the forefront of the project, the Green Legacy Initiative, aiming to curb and counter the negative impact of deforestation and climate change in the drought-prone nation.
PM Abiy arrived in ArbaMinch city for the #GreenLegacy initiative where he already planted seedlings with government officials and community members this morning. pic.twitter.com/COzbMkLg6l— Office of the Prime Minister - Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) July 29, 2019
The final goal of the green campaign is for four billion saplings to be planted.
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The Prime Minister even urged civil servants to take part and shut down offices.
The campaign in Ethiopia
One of the main reasons for the initiative is because 35 percent of the country's forest coverage from the early 20th century has now declined to a mere four percent since the early 2000s.
According to the Minister of Innovation and Technology, Getahun Mekuria, the 350 million trees were planted in just 12 hours.
Officials were responsible for counting the number of trees volunteers were planting.
— Dr.-Ing. Getahun Mekuria (@DrGetahun) July 29, 2019
The ultimate goal is for four billion indigenous trees to be planted around 1,000 different sites across the country.
The current record for most trees planted in one day is India, where 800,000 volunteers around the country planted over 50 million trees in 2016.
An official count of Ethiopia's trees-planted-in-one-day has yet to be announced.
Moreover, it's not just civil servants and volunteers who lined up to plant these trees.
PM Abiy calls upon everyone in #Ethiopia to go out and #PlantYourPrint. #PMOEthiopiapic.twitter.com/leQdUBv849— Office of the Prime Minister - Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) July 29, 2019
Government officials and private businesses joined the lines of tree planters, as well as staff and representatives from the United Nations, the African Union, and the Diplomatic Corps.
As previously mentioned, the country suffers from drought, with numbers as high as two million animals dying due to a scarcity of rainfall in 2017.
This is in part due to climate change, but other factors have also led to the high and quick deforestation issue in the country, such as its rapidly growing population, more farmland being used, and unsustainable forest usage.
This campaign is a step in the right direction.