An island near the historical Keti Bunder town, District Thatta has scripted its entry in to the Guinness Book of World Records by planting 541,176 mangrove saplings in one day from sunrise to sunset. Three hundred trained workers has embarked on a massive tree plantation drive on July 15 in a bid to outdo the Indian record of 447,874 trees that had beaten Mexico’s record of planting 348,493 trees on June 12-13 this year.
The campaign was spearheaded by the Sindh Forest Department, and had the technical support of International Union of Conservation (IUCN) and World Wildlife Fund-Pakistan. Federal Environment Minister Hameedullah Jan Afridi, Sindh Environment Minister Askari Taqivi, Sindh Cultural and Tourism Minister Sassui Paleejo, Environment Federal Secretary Kamran Lashari, Abdul Wahid Soomro Minister of National Assembly (MNA) and others also visited the site to personally observe the efforts of the workers.
The Guinness World Record (GWR) adjudicator Adil Ahmed and witnesses Marvi Memon, MNA and Tahir Qureshi, IUCN representative monitored the plantation activities at the site and after verification of the procedures adopted by the Ministry of Environment for planting the trees ratified the world record.
According to press release ‘in view of global significance of mangrove forests, particularly in the context of the Tsunami of 2005, the GWR event is held in the Mangrove areas on the coastal islands of Sindh, which are presently devoid of vegetation. In accordance with present government’s resolve to rehabilitate mangrove forests of Sindh by all means the Sindh Forest Department has taken the lead in organizing this event arranging planting stock and carrying out plantation through its trained planters, in partnership with, international and national NGOs and private sector.’
During press conference the Federal Minister for Environment Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi said “this one of the major events of the National Year of Environment 2009 has been planned with a view to develop forest resources through international competition.”
“This activity, on one hand, has achieved the national objective of increasing forest cover, and on the other hand, it will raise awareness among masses besides creating a soft image of the country in the world,” he said.
Afridi told at press conference that “Ministry of Environment prepared a calendar of events to celebrate 2009, as National Year of Environment. Furthermore, government of Pakistan in pursuance to achieve the target already fixed under Millennium Development Goals to enhance existing 5 percent forest cover up to 6 percent by the year 2015 is providing the funds to the tune of $ 158.5 million to the all four provinces to execute forestry sector mega projects.”
Further he said “The Ministry has initiated $ 158.5 million forestry sector projects in all the four provinces, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Northern Areas and Federally Administered Tribal Area to achieve the target already fixed under under Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to enhance existing 5 percent forest cover up to 6 percent by the year 2015. 51 acres of land was allocated for the plantation that has been filled. The additional land is available for plantation of more saplings. An additional area of one million hector would be required to achieve this target.”
After culmination of the plantation at sunset, the Minister for Environment Hamidullah Jan Afridi received a shield and certification of GWR in maximum tree plantation category from the representatives of the world body. The Environment 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.