ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi on Tuesday said that the reports received so far indicate that 5.835 million saplings have been planted in various parts of the country. He expressed these views while addressing a press conference on the occasion of National Tree Plantation Day observed on Tuesday. This indeed is quite encouraging progress in terms of numbers, but more so in terms of impact in creating awareness in tree planting among the masses, he noted. He said that such initiatives would go a long way in turning the country green and improving its environment. Pakistan has already achieved Guinness world record by planting 541,176 saplings in a single day at Keti Bundar, he noted. The minister further maintained that the international significance of this event, the President of Pakistan has given cash awards to the 300 planters in a ceremony held on August 17, 2009 in Bilawal House at Karachi. He informed the journalists that President of Pakistan while inaugurating monsoon tree planting campaign on July 22, 2009 had announced to celebrate National Tree Planting Day on August 18, 2009. He said that Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has officially approved celebration of this day regularly every year with the primary objective of creating awareness about tree planting among masses. He also informed that National Tree Planting Day (NTPD) has been observed today for the first time in the history of Pakistan and it will be celebrated regularly every year. Afridi said that NTPD has been celebrated throughout the country in federal capital, provincial headquarters as well as at district and tehsil levels. He said at federal capital the event has been organised at two places, namely, at Motorway M-I and in Sector D-12. Encouraged by the success of the event and international recognition, the minister said that the event at M-I was celebrated jointly by the Ministry of Environment, NHA, Pakistan Tobacco Company (PTC) and Pakistan Forest Institute. About 50,000 saplings will be planted at this site, he added. He continued that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) had also been signed between NHA and PTC for plantation along M-I under the President of Pakistan Programme.