It was a massive citizen involvement, as more than 1.5 million people from all walks of life, ranging from students and housewives to government officials, chipped in to plant the 66,750,000 tree saplings in just 12 hours.
About 1.5 million people were involved in the huge plantation campaign, in which saplings were placed along the Narmada river in the central state of Madhya Pradesh throughout Sunday.
The campaign was organised by the Madhya Pradesh government, with 24 districts of the Narmada river basin chosen as planting sites to increase the saplings’ chances of survival. Volunteers planted more than 20 different species of trees.
Shirvraj Singh Chouhan, the state’s chief minister, described the efforts as a “historic day”.
“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.The world talks of global warming & climate change, but Madhya Pradesh has taken a concrete step to deal with it,” he said.
This mass-planting event will help in creating awareness of the government’s colossal nation-wide plan to make India green again.
Arrangement for three crore saplings was made by forest department, while remaining three crore by other departments and private nurseries.
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. India’s government is putting forward $6.2 billion for this effort.
Madhya Pradesh is home to 9 National Parks, including Bandhavgarh National Park , Kanha National Park, Satpura National Park,Sanjay National Park, Madhav National Park, Van Vihar National Park, Mandla Plant Fossils National Park,Panna National Park,and Pench National Park.
Along with these 9 National Parks and there are 25 Sanctuaries spread over an area of 10,862 km constituting 11.40% of the total forest area and 3.52% of the geographical area of the state.
“Those possessing job cards under MANREGA have been assigned task to ensure safety of the plants and are designated as ‘plant guards’. They will be paid minimum wages as per the government rule for three to five years. The gram panchayats have been provided funds to supervise the work and quality monitors will inspect these locations to ensure proper security to the saplings”, the officials said.
Apart from forest department, non-government organisations (NGOs), self-help groups (SHGs) and social organisation would also help conserve the plants, said officials.
Observers from Guinness World Records also monitored Sunday’s plantation and are expected to confirm in the coming weeks that the effort set a new high.
Revealing the strategy for the world record preparations, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Animesh Shukla said the plantation drive will be covered under the category – most trees planted in 12 hours (team) – multiple locations – for which the Guinness record company has trained volunteers to collect data and monitor the plantation drive. The plantation will be carried out in 12 hours from 7 am to 7 pm, which will be recorded and provided to the company, he said.
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.
Last year volunteers in Uttar Pradesh state set a world record by planting more than 50 million trees in one day.
India is the world’s third largest generator of carbon emissions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the Paris climate accord after the US withdrew from the deal.
Addressing the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on June 2nd 2017 in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that India has traditionally been respecting nature and desisted from exploiting it.
“Paris or no Paris, our commitment to preserving the climate is for the sake of future generations.”
Asked by the moderator whether India would side with the US or others on the Paris climate change deal, Modi replied, “it is not a question of which way I go. I will go with the future generations.”
He underlined, “we must leave for our future generations a climate wherein they can breathe clean air and have a healthy life.”
“The protection of the environment and the mother planet is an article of faith,” he said at a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron.