People Friday in the cosmopolitan city of Addis Ababa took to tree planting sites as Ethiopia launched its second season of a massive afforestation campaign.

Dubbed “Green Legacy”, the campaign sets out to plant 5 billion tree seedlings across the country in this second round that will last for the whole rainy season of June, July and August.

Last year, the nation planted more than 4 billion tree seedlings as part of the green legacy, an initiative introduced by Ethiopia’s reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is the 2019 Nobel Laureate for Peace.

Anadolu Agency made it to planting activities at the Millenium Park in one of the beautiful woody hills flanking the north eastern boundaries of the city.

Early in the morning, under a cloudy sky, men and women swarmed a steep landscape planting seedlings.

Aregash Zenebe, a woman in her 40s, had already planted four seedlings and resolved to do more till there is no more to plant.

“I came here very early, and I have already planted four seedlings and will do so until all seedlings are planted. I know it is a very important undertaking. It is life,” she told Anadolu Agency.

“I wish I would be around to follow them up until they take roots, but I am a laborer with little time to spare. I hope the government will make sure they are nurtured and grow and thrive,” she said.

Holding a long-handled garden spade, another woman who did not want to be named for a reason she did not share, said: “Last year we planted seedlings at this same spot, but very few thrived.”

Addis Agonafir, an executive officer of District 5 in the Yeka sub-city, told Anadolu Agency that 20,000 tree seedlings will be planted at numerous blocks within the Millenium Park.

As part of the second season of the Green Legacy campaign, the city will plant 7 million tree seedlings during the rainy season, Takele Uma Benti — the young, innovative and energetic Deputy Mayor of Addis Ababa — said earlier.

The launching of the campaign this season coincided with the World Environment Day.

Incoming call sound of every mobile phone call today carries a short message by the prime minister, encouraging citizens to actively participate in the national greening drive.

Also in his Environment Day message, Abiy said, “Countering climate change and paving the way for green growth has been one of our development objectives.”

He said Ethiopia would plant 20 billion tree seedlings over a period of four years as part of the Green Legacy campaign launched last year.

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