KETI BANDAR, Pakistan: Pakistan has set a new Guinness Book of World record after volunteers planted more than a million mangrove plants on the seashore at Thatha, 65 miles from Karachi.
The day for the assault on the record had been carefully selected. Data supplied by the Pakistan Navy was used to select which day would give them the longest planting time.
Then to kick off the attempt on the record Chairman of the Sindh’s ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari planted a mangrove sapling.
“Three hundred volunteers from dawn to dusk planted 1,129,294 saplings of Avicennia marina and Rhizophora species of mangrove at an area of 40,000 hectares, which is a world record,” Javed Mahar, conservator mangrove forests management circle Karachi, told Arab News.
“The record was not the only aim,” Mahar added. “It was a well-coordinated drive aimed at protecting sea life and improving the environment.”
“The current attempt was to plant at least one million saplings of the mangrove species. We achieved more than our target,” Mahar said.
A team of observers from The Guinness Book of World Records was present and verified that 1,129,294 mangrove saplings had been planted within the set time.
Mahar said as per Guinness Book of World Records’ guidelines 300 volunteers had to complete the task within 24 hours.
Earlier, the Sindh forest department in 2009 had set a record by planting 541,176 saplings in Keti Bunder, which was overturned by India in 2010 when 611,000 saplings were planted, but Pakistan reclaimed the title in 2013 when the Sindh Forest Department set a new Guinness World Record at Kharo Chan, Thatta district, by planting 847,275 mangroves.
“The activity was aimed at raising the significance of the Indus Delta mangroves, its affiliated biodiversity and above all, the dependent coastal communities on this fragile and vulnerable ecosystem,” said Mahar, adding all saplings previously planted had made a great impact and were in good condition.
President of National Council of Environmental Journalists (NCEJ), Pakistan, Amar Guriro, who has extensively covered deforestation, sea level rise, coastal forests and impacts of climate change across Pakistan, endorsed the effort.
“All these drives have reduced the impact of the destruction of Delta and this plantation drive is a positive sign for the delta ecology.”
“Upstream diversion of River Indus water, construction of dams and lack of awareness on releasing the sufficient amount of water downstream, the once magnificent river Indus Delta is almost on the verge of destruction. Such massive mangrove plantation drive has brought some hope,” Guriro added.