Ethiopians plant record 350 million trees in one day

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 31 July 2019

On Sunday 29 July, Ethiopians converged in the southern city of Arba Minch to plant trees as part of a national reforestation initiative.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed championed the ‘Green Legacy’ initiative in a bid to restore Ethiopia’s green landscapes, reduce environmental degradation and address the climate crisis.

Deforestation is a big problem in Ethiopia. Since the late-20th century the country’s forest coverage has declined by about 31% and sits in the region of 4% now. Loss of forest canopy coverage in the tropical, savannah and highland biomes are attributed to many factors such as poor agricultural practices, coffee production, human habitation and drought, which has led to the decline since the previous century.

On Sunday those in the city of Arba Minch banded together and managed to plant a whopping 350 million tree saplings in the space of 12 hours. The previous record for the most trees planted was held by India, which managed to plant 66 million trees in the same amount of time, in the state of Madhya Pradesh in 2017.

The Prime Minister joined with community members and other government officials in getting his hands dirty early on Sunday morning. The Minister of Innovation and Technology, Dr Getahun Mekuria, announced the half-day’s total tallies as 353,633,660 trees planted.

PM Ahmed was delighted with the response and results of the campaign, and shared this on social media later that day:

Supportive responses from within the country and abroad poured in in response to the Prime Minister’s official Twitter feed.

In response, one young family even shared photos from their planting activity:

Featured images by FDRE/Office of the Prime Minister via Twitter

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