Planting trees to tackle pollution

According to a study by the World Health Organization, six of the 10 most polluted cities on Earth are in India. It’s hoped that the trees will improve the country’s air quality. Trees are known to remove pollutants from the air in addition to converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. There is also evidence that urban trees can reduce power consumption by shading buildings in summer, and blocking cold winds in the winter.

“The biggest contribution of this tree-planting project, apart from the tokenism, is that it focuses on the major issues,” Anit Mukherjee, a policy fellow with the Center for Global Development, told the Telegraph. “It addresses many of the big issues for India: pollution, deforestation and land use.”

The 50 million newly planted saplings will be monitored using aerial photography. Up to 40% of them are expected to die within a short time of being transplanted; they are susceptible to disease, and also require a regular supply of water.

A global effort to reforest the planet

India is not the only country to make a commitment to reforestation. In December 2015, African nations promised to expand forested land to up to 100 million hectares. In the same month, a wide range of interested parties, from companies to countries, signed the New York Declaration of Forests. Though non-binding, the agreement aims to halve deforestation by 2020, and bring it to an end by 2030. It also sets an objective to reforest at least 350 million hectares of land.