PUPILS from Cwmcarn Primary School helped first minister Mark Drakeford and teenage environmental activist Leah Namugerwa plant trees on two continents to help tackle climate change.

Leah Namugerwa, 15, planted the 10 millionth tree in the The Size of Wales Mbale scheme - which has been planing trees in the heavily deforested region of Mount Elgon region in eastern Uganda - on Friday. And, at the same time, the first minister, helped by youngsters from Cwmcarn Primary, planted a ‘twin tree’ in Cardiff's Bute Park.

South Wales Argus:

(Mark Drakeford with a member of Cwmcarn Primary School's eco team)

South Wales Argus:

(The tree planting happening at the same time in Uganda)

As well as fighting climate change, fast growing trees will protect local people in the Mount Elgon region from the effects of soil erosion, which can cause deadly landslides. The trees also provide local communities with fresh fruit, shelter and an important source of income.

Mr Drakeford said: “The Mbale tree planting programme has been a great success, helping the most vulnerable Ugandan communities adapt to climate change.

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“Tropical forests absorb nearly a fifth of all man-made CO2 emissions, making them crucial in stabilising the world’s climate.

“Planting trees in Wales and Uganda is vital in helping to tackle climate change and helps the children of Wales feel a personal connection with their environment.”

The scheme's director Elspeth Jones said: “The planting of the 10 millionth tree in Uganda is an enormous achievement.

“The programme has been working towards this point for many years and immense passion has been invested by a lot of people in both Wales and Uganda to make this happen.

“We are all extremely proud to see these trees being planted today to mark this amazing milestone.

“We hope that many people from all over Wales will visit our tree in stunning Bute Park and use it as an opportunity to learn about this wonderful project and the importance of trees in tackling the climate emergency.

“We’re really excited about the next stage of the project, which is to plant 25 million trees by 2025 – anyone who wants to support this effort can donate to plant a tree in the project via the Size of Wales website.”

The Size of Wales Mbale programme is also supported by the Welsh Government’s Plant! Scheme, which plants two trees for every child born or adopted in Wales – one in Wales and one in Uganda.