Billion Tree Campaign world record set by India in July 2007
31 July - The greenest day of the calendar in India and a tree planting record by 600,000 volunteers
10 million trees and a half planted in Uttar Pradesh in a single day
The Forest Department of the Government of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous State of India, has succeeded in planting 10.5 million trees in a single day on 31 July 2007. This ambitious project, to which 600,000 people participated, was meant to raise the awareness of residents of the State towards the importance of tree-planting and the vital role of trees in correcting ecological imbalances, removing the environmental pollution and increasing tree cover. The decision to launch this unique operation was taken at the Governmental level.
The saplings were planted by school children, the local population, farmers, industrial units, government departments and the forest department. The object of the exercise was to make tree plantation a people's participatory activity with people from a vast cross-section of society participating in the planting of the saplings at 9,320 different sites across the seventy districts of the State. Of these 43.72 % are farmer's sites, 9.14% forest department's sites, 38.01% educational institution's sites, 6.33% other government department's sites and rest sites are of other institutions. The planting activity on all sites have been photographed and will be authenticated. For this 18640 independent authenticators have been mobilized.
The pits for planting were dug in advance and the plants to be planted were transported to the sites in order to be planted in one go on 31 July 2007. The entire activity was carefully sequenced and detailed guidelines were prepared in the form of booklet and widely circulated.
The whole effort of planting over ten million saplings on one day was coordinated centrally from the State capital at Lucknow. Detailed plans were prepared which included details of the sites along with GPS based locations, the species of saplings to be planted, the source of the seedlings, as well as the name of site coordinators, photographers and videographers.
In India, 31 July was an auspicious day as it represented the first day of Shrawan, according to the Hindu calendar. The exercise gave a boost to the Billion Tree Campaign. Organizers also recalled that the theme of World Environment Day 2007 was "Melting Ice - A Hot Topic" and the Forest Department of Uttar Pradesh will also help to address the issues of global warming, expansion of tree cover and carbon sequestration.
There was large scale participation by many citizens and institutions by way of contributions in cash and kind for meeting the cost of plants, their transportation, payment of photographers etc. In many places the officers/staff of the forest department have voluntarily donated a day of salary for this purpose.