Basra Youth Volunteers Aim To Plant A Million Trees to Combat High Temperatures

Basra Youth Volunteers Aim To Plant A Million Trees to Combat High Temperatures

Iraqi volunteers in the southern city of Basra have launched a drive to plant one million trees.

Summer temperatures in the oil-rich city exceed 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) and climate change could mean that the city's inhabitants face even higher temperatures in the future.

A youth group has started the campaign in a bid to reduce the impact of these high temperatures.

Haider Ismaeel, the owner of al-Rafidain plant nursery, said he was selling plants and trees at a discount to encourage locals and volunteers to buy them.

"Planting many trees will help reduce desertification. In the past ten years, we lost millions of trees and the city of Basra needs them to improve the atmosphere. We need to compensate for their loss," he told Reuters.

He is selling trees to the group for 350 Iraqi Dinars each ($0.30 USD), a discount of around two thirds his usual retail price.

The plantation drive is planned for school gardens, public parks, government offices gardens and inside housing units.

Khayri Aziz, former director of Basra municipality, was confident the initiative would make a difference to the high temperatures experienced in the city.

Another volunteer, Zina Tariq, a lecturer at Basra University College of Agriculture, said the group also hoped to mitigate the effects of pollution.

"The purpose is to reduce contamination in the city due to the spread of oil institutions and high temperatures," she said.

The tree-planting campaign will start in September.