According to the most recent population estimates, there are around 1.35 billion people living in India -- about four times the size of the U.S. population. As India's population grows, more land is needed for agriculture, industry, and housing. This has resulted in widespread deforestation, as well as India becoming the world's third-largest producer of carbon dioxide emissions. Thankfully, India has pledged $6 billion USD to increase its forest cover by 12% by 2030, as part of the Paris Climate Agreement. This amounts to around 5 million hectares of forest cover (more than 12 million acres) that will help absorb excess carbon dioxide. For the past several years, millions of volunteers have engaged in massive tree-planting efforts around the country. In just 12 hours on 2 July 2017, about 1.5 million volunteers in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh planted more than 66 million trees, an effort that they hope will soon be recognized by Guinness World Records.
India's environmental army:
- The army of volunteers, which included children and elderly people, planted from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. along the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh. In all, 66.3 million saplings of 20 different tree species found new life.
- The previous tree-planting record was also set in India. Volunteers in Uttar Pradesh planted about 50 million trees in single day in July 2016.
- “The world talks of global warming and climate change,” said state minister Shirvraj Singh Chouhan, “but Madhya Pradesh has taken a concrete step to deal with it.”