Last year, the Chinese government announced plans for a major reforestation project : 6.66 million hectares of new forest this year, an area the size of Ireland.
To achieve this goal, China has assigned more than 60,000 soldiers to plant the trees. According to the Asia Times, a large regiment of the People’s Liberation Army, along with some armed forces of the national police, have withdrawn from their posts near the northern border to work on this task.
Most of the troops will move to the highly polluted industrial province of Hebei, which has pledged to increase total forest cover by 35% by the end of 2020.
The China State Forest Administration aims to increase the country’s forest cover rate to 23%, from 21.7% by the end of the decade. Then from 2020 to 2035, China plans to further increase the percentage of forest cover to 26%.
China is the world’s largest CO2 emitter and is still heavily dependent on coal, but in recent years it has been working due to great concern about the impact that air pollution and climate change is having on its environment. The country is investing many resources in the development of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles.