UN Climate Warning: Ethiopia has planted over 350 million trees in a day
Updated 09:31, 09-Aug-2019
Ethiopia has gone into the record books by planting over 350 million trees in a day. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is leading the project, which aims to counter the effects of deforestation and climate change in the drought-prone country. The UN says Ethiopia's forest coverage declined from 35 percent of the total land in the early 20th century to a little above 4 percent in the 2000s. CGTN'S Girum Chala has more on this.
The name of the initiative-green legacy. The total number of seedlings planned for planting-4 billion. And so far, Ethiopia has managed to plant more than 3 billion of them in less than six months time.
Within a day, a record 200 plus million seedlings were planted across Ethiopia. Of that number, Addis Ababas take 3 million.
TAKELE UMMA, MAYOR, ADDIS ABABA CITY "So the initiative is to plant four billion trees and especially 7.7 million in Addis Ababa. Today, we are planning to plant 3 million. Of course, the turnout will be more than three million. And the initiative is to cope up with the current environment and so that we build a resilient economy, a resilient city; so that the residents of the city will have more fresh environment."
The nation-wide tree planting initiative was launched by Prime minister Abiy Ahmed himself. Creating awareness about green development and to motivate reforestation were some of his plans. Hundreds of millions responded across Ethiopia quickly and have joined the campaign.
"As you have seen the people came out driven by their own interests to plant seedlings. In the meantime, I would like to mention it to you that we are committed to protecting and watering these seedlings. They will be seen to grow well."
"I'm here with my child who is less than two months old. We came to leave our green legacy by planting seedlings. It simply is a God sent initiative. We are happy to be part of."
"I would really like it if this day could be celebrated as a yearly seedling planting day or simply a green day. I would like in this regard to thank our prime minister for this idea. He is our green leader."
With the plan of planting 4 billion trees going well, Ethiopia is well-positioned to improve its current 4 % forest coverage. Addis Ababa's mayor Takele Umma hopes the campaign could be exemplary for the rest of the African continent.
TAKELE UMMA, MAYOR, ADDIS ABABA "Hey, climate change is real, it's not a hoax and the initiative is to make Ethiopia green again and Addis Ababa green again. And we always remember that Addis Ababa itself means fresh and new flower. We need to make it again. And we need to make Addis to live up to that name. And remember what starts in Addis spirals all over Africa. And remember that also Addis Ababa is a city for Africa and African Union, fellow African people residing here and we are happy to have them."
GIRUM CHALA, ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA "Ethiopia might be grappling with all sorts of challenges, from ethic chaos to political and economic instability. But with the kind of unity, people are displaying across the country, experts tell you, Ethiopia has a reason to hope for a brighter and stronger future soon to come. Girum Chala, CGTN, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia."