Ecuador broke a Guinness World Record on Saturday by mobilizing more than 44,000 people to plant 647,250 trees across the country.
National Reforestation Day, also named “Siembratón”, was an initiative from the Minister of Environment Lorena Tapia to “show Ecuador is committed to the protection of the environment” and invite citizens to become positive contributors in the process, Tapia said.
Around 200 areas participated on Saturday, planting an estimated 216 species of native trees.
“Behind this [reforestation day] is also a governmental policy that has been going on for years. There is an objective of reforestation to recover 50,000 acres by 2017” Tapia said.
The Ecuadorean government has actively combated deforestation since Rafael Correa's presidency in 2008. While the country was suffering an annual deforestation of 92,000 acres between 1990 and 2000, this has almost halved, preserving over one million hectares of forest.
The Environment Minister indicated that the government has invested $74 million in projects of reforestation since 2008 and that it hopes to reach a level of “zero deforestation,” reported EFE.
The previous record-holder in simultaneous reforestation was Turkey, which managed to gather 10,624 people to plant seeds at the same time.
Saturday's record breaking event wasn’t the first time Ecuador has entered the Guinness Book of Records for its green credentials. In 2012 it won an entry for the most plastic bottles recycled in one week as part of an initiative to promote environmental awareness amongst children. Over one million bottles were collected weighing in at nearly 40,000 kg
For the latest record, citizens were invited to exhibit their participation in Reforestation Day by uploading their pictures and using the hashtag on.
“I join #Sembraton, we plant dignity for Ecuador.”
“#sembraton in Chimborazo contributes to the cooperative work for forestation”
“We don´t only plant trees, we also plant hope!”