The Ministry of Environment on Wednesday scripted the Guinness World Record of tree plantation by planting 541,176 saplings in one day from sunrise to sunset, breaking the Indian record of 447,874 trees set on June 12-13 this year. The plantation was arranged by the Ministry of Environment as part of series of events being held to observe the National Year of Environment, also aimed at developing forest resources through international competitions.
The plantation, kicked off by sunrise was culminated by sunset as per requirement of Guinness Book of World Records, in which the ministry three hundred planters, wearing green jackets, planted local species at Keti Bandar, Tehsil Thatta, some 150 kilometers in the Southeast of Karachi.
The event was monitored by the IUCN representative Tahir Qureshi and independent monitor Marvi Memon, both also the nominees of GWR, of which a representative Adil Ahmed was also there to monitor the event.
After culmination of the plantation at sunset, the Minister for Environment Hamidullah Jan Afridi received a shield and certification of Guinness World Record in maximum tree plantation category from the representatives of the world body.
Through the plantation held at Keti Bandar, Tehsil Thatta, some 150 kilometers in the Southeast of Karachi, Pakistan broke Indian record of 4,47,874 trees that had beaten Mexico’s record of planting 3,48,493 trees on June 12-13 this year.
Three planters were selected from the local communities, who have been trained to plant maximum number of saplings in the daylight, but the planters acted beyond the expectations, breaking the previous Indian record by 1400 hours.
The federal environment minister, provincial ministers and officials of the concerned ministry were also present on the occasion.
The tree plantation drive is also in accordance with the government’s resolve to rehabilitate mangrove forests of Sindh by all means, in partnership with Sindh Forest Department, international and national NGOs and private sector.
In view of global significance of mangrove forests, particularly in the context of the tsunami of 2005, the event was planned in the Mangrove areas on the coastal island of Sindh, which are presently devoid of vegetation.
The Sindh Forest Department has taken the lead in organizing this event arranging planting stock and carrying out plantation through its trained planters.
The awareness and motivation generated as a result of GWR event shall be geared towards holding another event on August 18, this year. The saplings planted under both these events will also be counted towards UN Environmental Programme (UNEP)’s Billion Trees Campaign.
This will further help to portray a soft image of the country among comity of nations. A scheme of Best Planter Award is being introduced, in which best performers in each segment of society win be identified, recognized and awarded by the President of Pakistan.
Talking to media on the plantation site, Minister for Environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi described the even as ‘moment of pleasure’ for the people of the country, what he said became possible with the cooperation of collaborating organizations.
He said the ministry would shortly receive the certification formally that would follow the holding of Best Planter event in which a person would plant maximum saplings in the desert.
He said 51 acres of land was allocated for the plantation that has been filled; however, he added that the additional land is available for plantation of more saplings.
The minister said as the planters have set the word record and there is some more time to culminate the event, so it is hoped that they would take the record to the unbeatable level.
He said the Ministry would also look after the site for three years to ensure maximum survival of saplings.
The Ministry has initiated Rs 13.5 billion forestry sector projects in all the four provinces, AJ&K, Northern Areas and FATA to increase the forest cover by 1% under Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) till 2015.
An additional area of one million hector would be required to achieve this target.
According to estimates millions cubic meter wood is cut annually for fuel, furniture, construction and other purposes and forests in hilly areas are under extreme stress.
With increase in population and lack of alternate energy resources, the residents of remote, hilly and far flung areas are poised to cut forest wood to meet their needs.
This trend was not only depleting the existing forest cover but also making difficult, the achievement of targets.
The fact also remains there that despite planting millions of saplings every year, the forest cover area is stagnant at 4.9% of the total land over the decades. Reasons behinds it were massive tree cutting and low survival rate of the saplings planted every year.
To save the forests and ensure better survival of saplings, the Ministry is also reviewing strategy at all tiers, also ensuring massive awareness raising and involving all stakeholders.
Source : APP