China has reassigned over 60,000 soldiers to plant trees in a bid to combat pollution by increasing the country’s forest cover, China Daily reported recently. This is part of plans to plant at least 84,000 square km of trees by the end of 2018 – roughly equivalent to the size of Ireland. A large regiment from the People’s Liberation Army, alongside members of the Armed Police Force, have been withdrawn from their posts on the northern border with Russia and Mongolia to work on the non-military tasks inland. Majority of the troops will be despatched to Hebei Province, which encircles the capital, Beijing. The goal is to increase the country’s forest coverage from 21 per cent of total landmass to 23 per cent by 2020, China Daily said.