It is official. Bhutan has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for planting the most number of trees in an hour. The official record says 49,672 trees planted at Kuenselphodrang, Thimphu, although 50,000 was the number attempted.
This is still a record and we should applaud the organisers, the Bhutan Eco-Green Initiative Network, the agriculture and forest ministry and the volunteers. Such an initiative on a day to remember the contributions of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo is most appropriate. The country will be richer by almost 50,000 trees.
The unofficial record is even more impressive. Beyond Kuenselphodrang, there were tree sapling plantations events organised all across the country. Some did not make into the news, but schools and institutions in every dzongkhag had planted some tree saplings yesterday. The number would surely touch the 100,000 mark, if we take in even the smallest contributions.
Meanwhile, Bhutanese are celebrating the new record. It is the most shared story or picture on social media, while also being the talk of the town. There is a sense of pride and appreciation. However, even as we celebrate the achievement, there are also good reminders.
One common comment on social media is worth paying attention. They believe that seeing these saplings, planted all across the country, turn into trees would be a bigger record. There is truth in it. If the saplings are not taken care of and nurtured, the whole purpose of the record will be defeated. Our attempt was not just to get into the record books. It was a greening Bhutan initiative and protecting our environment. We will be greener and more beautiful if all the saplings we planted yesterday grow into trees.
A lot of effort went into getting into the record book. Smaller efforts like watering them regularly or appointing a few caretakers will ensure that they will not be forgotten after today.
Members of the royal family, members of the cabinet, officials, students and volunteers witnessed the proud event yesterday. The mood was of achievement and celebrations. There is a positive vibe sent across, making people think why not make this an annual initiative? It need not be 50,000, but even a thousand saplings planted every year would leave a better environment for our children.
There are Bhutanese, who plant trees without having to wait for occasions. The nursery run by forestry department provides saplings free of cost, and this has encouraged people to plant trees. It may be near their house or school or office, but everyone will share the benefits of a greener community.
While the mood is on, we should think of taking the initiative ahead. To start with, one could plant a tree without having to wait for June 2.