Crushing the world record for tree-planting in a 24-hour period, government officials from India’s state of Uttar Pradesh distributed saplings for 50 million trees on Monday, July 11th. Over 800,000 students, families, lawmakers and government officials came out to volunteer to plant the saplings along designates spots along country roads, highways, railroads, and forest lands. The previous record holders, Pakistan, planted 847,275 saplings back in 2013. Guinness World Record auditors moved with stealth between the volunteers across the state to verify the numbers.
Government officials are concerned about the saplings survival. Typically, only 60% of saplings survive, the other 40% disrupted by diseases and a lack of water. Volunteers were passionate about the trees, stating that they want to come back and check on their trees themselves. The 49.3 million saplings will be monitored by aerial photographs throughout the year.
Though the saplings have a long way to go before they help to cut down India’s air pollution levels, spreading the word on the environmental issues, the importance of trees, and health is important on its own. Air pollution kills half a million people in India each year. Both indoor and outdoor air pollution can cause heart disease and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease. It is also linked to lung cancer.
Sincere efforts need to be made to reduce the looming threats of climate change and reduce carbon emissions. Across India, the government has set aside $6.2 billion for states to start their own tree-planting drives as part of India’s climate change commitments in Paris. The nation pledged to increase its forest cover to 95 million hectares by 2030.