India has just broken its own world record by planting a staggering 66.3 million trees in just 12 hours last Sunday.
Between 7am and 7pm more than 1.5 million volunteers flooded the area on the bank of the Narmada river, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, for the mass sapling plantation.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan, state chief minister for the region, tweeted after the event: “Thank people of Jabalpur for making tree plantation a huge success. You are not only saving Narmada, but also [the] planet.”
“We cannot be too selfish. We have to spare something for upcoming generations.”
Everyone from schoolchildren to elderly women got involved in planting 20 species of tree in 24 districts of the river basin (where the saplings were deemed to have the best chance of survival).
“Children, youth, women, cutting across religion and class are participating in this noble cause of planting trees,” said Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The huge operation was part of a Guinness World Record attempt organised by the local government and overseen by officials from the organisation; and they are expected to confirm in the next couple of weeks that the campaign has broken records.
The previous record was set by volunteers in Uttar Pradesh who planted more than 50 million trees in one day.
But the effort isn’t just about breaking records, it is also part of India’s pledge to the Paris Agreement to increase its forests by five million hectares before 2030, in order to combat the effects of climate change.
India is one of the biggest producers of carbon emissions in the world, and has an ongoing smog epidemic that is directly linked to public health problems.
The World Health Organisations says needs to “systematically tackle” air pollution because of the “huge burden of associated ill health” on its people.
But more recently has been making pledges to meet green targets by 2020 and a Climate Action Tracker report says that the action is the “most important development underway globally” today.
The report says: “The continuing rapid growth in renewable energy in India, combined with sustained reductions in coal imports and a slowdown in coal development—with coal-fired “ultra-mega power projects” cancelled—is a strong indication that the low carbon transformation of India’s energy supply sector is gathering momentum.”