China to plant two huge new forests covering an area the size of Ireland

China wants to become a world leader in forests by 2035 and said it will plant two new forests which will cover an area roughly the size of Ireland in total.

China announced ambitious plans earlier aimed at curbing high levels of harmful emissions. The country is not only placing restrictions on its polluting energy industry and making its transport industry more friendly to the environment, it is also working to replant its forests. China’s next major move will be to plant two new forests covering an area roughly the size of Ireland.

China’s target is to increase forest cover in the country from the current 21.7 percent to 23 percent by 2020, and to 26 percent by 2035. China’s State Forestry Administration said that 33.8 million hectares of forest had been planted nationwide over the last five years, bringing China’ total forest area to about 208 million hectares – which means there is still a lot of work to do until their target of about 250 million hectares is met.

China declared war on pollution in 2014, and introduced measures aiming to curb air pollution and to boost renewable energy use. That’s no surprise: China is the world’s biggest emitter of harmful emissions, producing almost twice as much greenhouse gases as the United States. Globally it produces about a quarter of harmful emissions.

Air pollution is a major health issue: according to data from WHO, 92% of the Chinese population lives in areas where levels of particulate matter in the air are dangerously high, and where 1 out of 9 deaths per year (about 6 million in total) is caused by air pollution. No wonder China takes the fight against pollution very seriously.