Ethiopia Finalizes Preparation to Plant 5 Billion Trees amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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Addis Ababa, June 2/2020( ENA) Ethiopia has finalized groundworks to plant 5 billion tree seedlings this rainy season amid the enduring COVID-19 pandemic challenges, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission (EFCCC) stated.

Since the outburst of the COVID-19 pandemic, several parallels have been drawn between the global health crisis and the climate related calamity.

Ethiopia, however, has announced plans to plant billions of seedlings beginning June 2020 with a precautionary approach to avoid harmful repercussions as the nation’s move to become greener.

In an interview with ENA, EFCCC Commissioner, Fekadu Beyene said encouraged by the plantation of over 4 billion trees last year, Ethiopia is ready to plant 5 billion seedlings, despite the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that acceptable and better preparations have been undertaking since last year, with best lessons drawn from preceding year and an effective coordination established among stakeholders, to effectively plant 5 billion tree seedlings.

In light with the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the government will take utmost safety measures including using various methods of plantation techniques and adhering to all health precautions to evade vulnerability to coronavirus related risks, he added.

“All the 5 billion tree seedlings are ready, though COVID-19 may affect the massive planting with huge crowds in a single-day like the preceding year. Thus, it requires a different method of identifying and allotting of plantation sites to a particular group to be planted turn by turn, adhering to all the precaution measures,” he explained.

Up to date study recommended that planting trees is the top climate change solution on hand today, though not everyone concurred with that precise assertion.

But, Commissioner Fekadu claimed the advantages of planting could include building of green growth with an urgent need for both green recovery and strengthening of resilience in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.

Best lessons have drawn from the previous experiences, he said adding that special plan has been prepared for the effective completion of the upcoming planting project amid of COVID-19 epidemic.

“Yes, the stated number of plantation will be successful as we have drawn best lessons from the great experience and public commitment last year. Our commission’s structure is not extended to many lower echelon but the committees in place cover all those tasks and effectively coordinates all concerned bodies including the Kebelles,” Fekadu reassured.

A compiled document of information about the plantation will be released this month, the commissioner stated.

The main purpose of the plantation is to increase the forest coverage, maintain climate change complying with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)which Ethiopia ratified and exploit economic benefits in the long run, he added.

The hot gases release estimated 400 million tons by 2030, could be reduced to 250 million tones if plantations go with current pace in Ethiopia and that brings various economic benefits, the commissioner pointed out.

The current forest coverage is at 15.5 percent and by planting 1 billion trees each year, covering 1 million hectares; the coverage is going to increase to 30 percent by 2030, he noted.

The Green Legacy Initiative, initiated by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed targeted to plant 20 billion trees in the upcoming four years, it was indicated.