India Will Plant 2 Billion Trees Along Highways, Creating Jobs For 300,000 Youths

The rest of the world should plant more trees too.

India’s Rural Development Ministry has decided to try to tackle two problems at the same time: Youth unemployment and bad air quality. It has unveiled a plan to hire youths – potentially up to 300,000 – to plant 2 billion trees along the country’s highways.

“The length of National Highways in the country is one lakh kilometer [about 62,137 miles]. I have asked officials to come out with a plan to plant 200 crore [2 billion] trees along these stretches which in turn would create jobs for the unemployed on the one hand and protect the environment on the other,” said Shipping and Rural Development Minister Nitin Jairam Gadkari.

Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

Not only would this help provide jobs to a segment of the population that needs them and make the country more beautiful, but trees are also great at improving air quality. India tends to have big problems with that, as does much of Asia and the Middle-East:

Map of global air pollution compiled by the World Health Organisation/Public Domain

recent study shows that tree leaves can capture a substantial amount of particulate pollution. The research was conducted in the UK; The scientists started by measuring how much air pollution go into a certain number of houses in Lancaster using dust monitoring devices and by swiping surfaces and then analyzing what was collected with magnetic remanence, a technique that provides information on concentrations of iron-bearing particles.

Then the team placed a screen of 30 young silver birch trees in wooden planters in front of four of the houses, including one of the control houses, for 13 days. Wipes from all eight houses showed that ones with the tree screens had 52 to 65% lower concentrations of metallic particles. A comparison of all of the dust monitoring data from the two original control houses confirmed that drop, showing a 50% reduction in PM1, PM2.5, and PM10 in the house with the trees in front.

By examining the silver birch leaves with a scanning electron microscope, the researchers confirmed that the hairy surfaces of the leaves trapped metallic particles. Like the particles measured inside the houses, these metallic particles are most likely the product of combustion and brake wear from vehicles passing by. Previous work has indicated a strong correlation between the amount of material identified by magnetic remanence and benzo(a)pyrene, a carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon found in particulates, Maher says. (source)

Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 2.0

Written by Michael Graham Richard, TreeHugger.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

102 comments

Christine J.
Christine J.2 months ago

Lovely idea.

Erin H.
Erin H.2 years ago

Please do a follow up article when more information is available!

Carole R.
Carole R.2 years ago

Wonderful news

Demy Lohan
Demy L.2 years ago

Thanks for sharing, i love the initiative. More should follow it!

Mari 's
Mari 's2 years ago

When will America wake up and do this? How long will it take?

june t.
june t.2 years ago

The plan is in it's beginning stages, so once they get it going, I hope other countries will take a look at it and implement the idea to some extent. Good luck to them, I hope it works out.

Mahalia W.
Mahalia W.2 years ago

This is excellent! Thank you for sharing.

janet t.
janet t.2 years ago

Yess!!!!!! We need to do this also. Not only would it be good for the ecology and creating jobs, but just think about the nicer view and cooler ride when you drive down those highways and roads. I read once that the isle of Great Britain once was covered with trees from shore to shore and now I watch a tv show or movie and I see highways that have treeless lawns on either side of the highways. Beautiful, but it would be even nicer to see trees lining those highways. Also add the railways here in the US. They should be lined with trees too. I'm too old, the younger generation is going to have to do it. Will they??????

Mari 's
Mari 's2 years ago

THIS IS SOOO WONDERFUL!!!! We are in a dire need of this in America the highways are ugly, bald and naked!!! So many just waiting to be planted!!!

Hartson Doak
Hartson Doak2 years ago

Fran nailed it. Make work programs that include planting trees every where.