Pakistan In New Guinness Record for Tree Planting

Posted on July 20, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, >Owais Mughal, Economy & Development, Environment
17 Comments
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Owais Mughal and Adil Najam

Not all world records are created equal.

Being in the Guinness Book of World Records is as often a sign of being just weird as of having done something truly of import. Having the world’s longest nails or being the world’s fattest person is intriguing but not really consequential.

Sometimes, however, the record created is truly consequential. On July 15, 2009, one just truly consequential record was created when a team of 300 volunteers in Pakistan planted 5,41,176 mangrove tree saplings in the back waters of Arabian Sea near Keti Bandar.

This is consequential not because it is a ‘world record’ but because it is truly important for the world. In the midst of environmental degradation and rising sea levels the coastal Mangroves in Pakistan are natures defense against all sorts of environmental calamities, and this defense has been progressively disappearing. Bolstering the Mangroves can make a real difference not only to Pakistan’s environment, but to the world’s.

This was done as part of Pakistan’s “Year of the Environment,” a brain-child of Pakistan’s environment Minister, Hamidullah Jan Afridi. One of us has been closely involved in these discussions with the Minister and in advancing the idea that something big and bold needs to be done to capture public attention. This is certainly big and bold. And it has certainly captured public attention. For that the Ministry and the Minister needs to be congratulated. The real test, however, will be in what is maintained of this plantation and how it survives and thrives over time. That will require the same type of government resolve that has gone into setting this “world record.”

More details from a BBC news report:

A team of volunteers in Pakistan has set a new world record by planting more than half a million trees in one day. Guinness World Records confirmed that 541,176 trees had been planted in the southern province of Sindh on 15 July.

Some 300 volunteers, working in groups, planted mangrove saplings in the 750 acres of the Indus river delta region. They beat the previous team record for tree planting which was set in India just last month when 447,874 saplings were planted in Assam state.

Pakistan’s tree-planting marathon was witnessed by representatives of Guinness World Records and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Each group was issued saplings by a panel of experts which also monitored the planting process to ensure that standards set by Guinness World Records were met.

Aadil Ahmed, the Guinness representative, told the BBC he was there to ensure that no old plants were included in the count. Pakistan’s environment minister, Hamidullah Jan Afridi, said the event was part of a series of events being held to observe the national year of the environment.

“The government has set aside one billion rupees over a three-year period to protect these plants and help them survive,” Mr Afridi said. Mangroves grow in delta regions where the fresh waters of the river mix with sea water. Experts say the new saplings will have difficulty surviving because of diminishing river water in the region.

17 responses to “Pakistan In New Guinness Record for Tree Planting”

  1. Benawa says:

    I do hope that this record will inspire tree-planting in other
    areas, too.(“Kharbooze ko dheekh kar Khabooza rang pakarta hai.”)

    To Abas: Pakistani media must be taking their cue from
    the Western media, not knowing that it is against the latter’s
    “religion” to print or broadcast anything positive about their
    favorite ‘whipping boy.’ Please don’t keep quiet. Rage against
    the negative spin. Let them know how you feel about it.

  2. abas says:

    Good to hear that. It’s sad though our own Pakistani media doesn’t consider something like this important enough to even mention it once on their channels or newspapers.

    That is why i have stopped watching Pakistani news channels completely. They are only there to bash the government (be it Musharraf’s or Zardari’s) and focus on negative things only. They never talk about anything positive. And it’s not that there is nothing good happening in Pakistan. There are plenty of great things happening there but the media never talks about it.

  3. Faraz says:

    The job is only half done. Any one has an idea, what are the chances of the survival of these saplings.

  4. MQ says:

    Just for the information of some of the commenters, mangrove planting is different than the normal tree planting in that it does not require any digging of hole in the ground, manuring or watering. Mangrove sticks, not longer than 12-18 inches, are simply pushed into the mud or swamp, very close to each other. And then the nature takes care of them. It’s more like paddy (rice) planting, as can be seen from the picture in the post. That’s why it’s possible to plant a very large number of saplings in relatively short time.

  5. Owais Mughal says:

    I’ve read that every volunteer was given a target of planting 1300 saplings during the whole day. They surpassed it. The final average came out be 1800 saplings planted by every volunteer.

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