The largest desert Sahara in the world is getting bigger every day. For this reason, the concerns of scientists engaged in earth conservation work are also increasing. Over the past 100 years, the area of the Sahara Desert has increased by around 10 percent. The Sahara Desert currently occupies an area of 3.3 million square kilometers, distributed among 11 countries in the northern part of the African continent. The semi-arid region called the Sahel, located in the southern part of the Sahara, separates the desert from the rest of the land. Recently, we have seen that this area is also drying up quickly. There is already a severe water shortage in this region. Today, water is becoming scarce due to climate change and global warming. The quality of the soil in this area is continuously deteriorating. Due to the lack of trees or plants, there is a shortage of food in the area. The United Nations estimates that about 1.35 billion people live in this region, whose lives are now in danger.
The wall is 15 km wide and 8,000 km long
The African Union launched an ambitious program in 2007, in view of the danger hanging over the Indian population. In which a joint effort is made to stop the expansion of the Sahara and make the Sahel again a buffer zone. In the next 10 years, thanks to this project, a green wall of approximately 8,000 km will be built in the southern part of the Sahara Desert. It has been named the Great Green Wall of Africa. The width of this wall filled with tree plants will be about 15 kilometers. Within this framework, 100 million hectares of land between Senegal in the west and Djibouti in the east will be green with trees and plants. In the initial phase of the program, there was a considerable shortage of funds for the African Union. They definitely started this campaign with little money, but now many global organizations and countries are funding the program. France provided a $ 14 billion fund for this project in January of this year. In addition, the World Bank, along with many other financiers, has provided assistance of $ 33 billion.
Estimated completion of this project by 2030
The United Nations estimates that if the project continues at the same pace, it will be completed by 2030. If this project is completed, its total length will be three times that of the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is currently the largest living structure on Earth. The African Union has set a goal of 2030 to complete this project. So far, only four million hectares of land have been planted. This represents only 4% of the total share of the project. This campaign will also cover forests spread over 20 million hectares of land adjacent to the project. Deforestation will be prohibited in these forests spread over many countries. A campaign will be launched to encourage people to conserve forests and plant trees in more and more areas. For such a technique which prevents the movement of sand for a long time, a plan has been drawn up to train the people around it. Many countries along the Sahara are taking action to protect water supplies by constructing boreholes and drilling irrigation systems.
Ethiopia works fastest on Great Green Wall
Ethiopia is considered the fastest in this job. So far, 5.5 billion plants have been planted in this country. These plants were planted on a hectare and a half of land. In addition, the forests already spread over 7 lakh of land have been even denser. These forests are not part of this project, but campaigns are being carried out to save them and make them greener. Elvis Paul Tangam, coordinator of the Great Green Wall initiative at the African Union Commission, said it took us over a decade to establish the countries and all the strategies. Now that we have done the fieldwork, have we seen what has been done and what remains? We are moving at a steady pace to achieve our goals. He said community cooperation was of utmost importance in this work. If the people of this region do not cooperate with us, this plan will not be successful. We have contacted many communities for this and people are participating in this project with great height.
This project is being carried out with the help of local residents
Franco-Tunisian ecologist Sarah Toomey also said such an ambitious project would only be possible if local residents were fully behind. It is very easy to plant a tree here, but it is very difficult to grow it. It is not cheap to plant trees in the Sahara Desert region. You have to water it, you have to take care of it, you have to prevent animals from eating it. He said that since the creation of an organization called Acacias for All, more than 700,000 acacias have been planted in Tunisia on land affected by desertification. The Organization for All helps teach farmers how to harvest the leaves, fruits and gum of the plant so they can live with it.
1 million people will get jobs in the Great Green Wall project
The goal of the Great Green Wall is not only to plant forests to prevent the desert from spreading, but also to generate a large number of jobs. It is estimated that more than 1 million people will get jobs in this project. So far 3 lakh 35,000 people are working in this project. $ 90 million was earned from the fruits and wild trees planted in these forests. Experts believe that the permanent livelihoods of the people will also be created through this project. So that they can live in peace in their ecosystem and preserve their traditions.