AFRICA Agriculture PEOPLE & PLACES

Ethiopia Breaks World Record by planting over 350 Million Trees in 12 hours

Trees have a lot of advantages to the environment from providing oxygen, food, shelter, medicine, fuel, preventing soil erosion, water conservation, making the environment attractive and more. Everyone knows the importance of trees. This is why several governments in the world are encouraging the planting of trees. If one cuts down a tree, they should plant two to replace it.

In a campaign to fight deforestation and climate change, Ethiopians planted over three hundred and fifty million trees in just one day. Ethiopia’s Minister for Innovation and Technology, Dr. Getahun Mekuria, mentioned that they planted 353, 633, 660 seedlings in only twelve hours on the 29th of July 2019. They had initially planned to plant two hundred million trees. What they finally achieved will become a world record. Previously, India held the title having planted fifty million trees in 2016 and sixty-six million trees in 2017.

Ethiopia’s current Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Green Legacy Initiative, which was launched in May, targets to plant four billion indigenous trees by October. To achieve this, they are encouraging every citizen to plant a minimum of forty trees. The Green Legacy Initiative is taking place in a thousand sites across Ethiopia. Schools and public offices have been shut down to ensure that public servants also participate. There have also been promotional videos running on state media appealing to the public to plant and take care of trees. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed himself planted his tree in the Southern city of Arba Minch.

Farm Africa, an organization, dealing with forest management in Ethiopia, cited that forested land occupies only slightly above four per cent of the country’s land; when compared to the thirty-five per cent by the end of the nineteenth century, this a decline that is not amusing. The county’s rapidly increasing population has led to the growing need for farmland and settlement areas. This plus the unsustainable forest use are the main causes of deforestation, leading to climate change.

Apart from the Ethiopians, staff from the African Union, United Nations and foreign embassies in Ethiopia are participating in the program. Swiss scientists had published a study in Journal Science, claiming that the best way to tackle global warming is by planting a trillion trees.

There has been the same problem of deforestation in the neighboring East African Countries. In countries where millions depend on charcoal as cooking fuel such as Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia, deforestation is a significant cause for alarm. This is why Kenya imposed a ninety-day ban on logging.

Many would, however, agree that a ninety-day ban is not exactly the best solution. Countries facing the same problem are, therefore looking for alternatives while also trying to make it sustainable. In Kenya, for instance, a company operating in Nakuru, Nairobi and Naivasha is making household fuel from human waste. People who have used the product say that it performs better than ordinary charcoal by far. This method, apart from just saving trees, improves sanitation.

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