It's no secret that air pollution is an issue. Between air quality and greenhouse gases that lead to climate change, experts around the world are urging governments and people to reduce their carbon emissions. It's also no secret that one of the best ways to fight to this problem is with plants. Especially trees.
Trees are carbon-gobbling machines. Their lives literally depend on the carbon dioxide in the air, just as ours do on the oxygen they send back into the atmosphere as they "exhale". To be sure, the solution to the world's pollution problem isn't just about plants. Humans can still do a lot more to create less pollution. But we could all do a lot worse than planting a bunch more trees.
How many more exactly?
I don't know. How many have you got?
Record breaking tree planting
Whoa, whoa. You want to plant how many trees? 50 million?! 5 and seven zeros worth of trees? All in one day?! That's impossible!
Well, step aside, non-believers. Because planting 50 million trees in one day is precisely what over 800,000 volunteers in India did on July 11th. Okay, it was 49.3 million saplings planted in 24 hours, but when you're that close to such a staggering number, I don't think that anyone will mind if we round the number up!
The planting took place in Uttar Pradesh state in India. This is significant for a couple of reasons. For one, Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in India. Nearly 200 million people live in a state the size of Michigan. But in addition, 6 of the world's 10 most polluted cities are in India, including the Uttar Pradesh city of Allahabad. In other words, a lot of people stand to benefit from this effort to make such a polluted area more green. People living in cities like Allahabad are at risk for many diseases and life-threatening conditions. More trees can make life easier for everyone.
A great step in the right direction
Experts are cautioning people not to get too carried away by this achievement. Yes, it's impressive. But often as many as 40% of the trees planted in mass plantings don't survive. Officials behind the planting say that they will use aerial photography to keep an eye on the trees, quickly coming to the aid of plants that are struggling. But even if only 30 million or so of these trees survive... that's still 30 million trees!
As Anit Mukherjee, from an Indian organization called the Centre for Global Development said, "[the planting] addresses many of the big issues for India: pollution, deforestation, and land use." And as we all know, these are big issues for the whole world, too.
(By the way, the previous record for trees planted in one day was 847,275 trees planted in Pakistan in 2013. Safe to say that that record has now been broken.)