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More than 2,000 people gathered in Nepal’s capital today in a bid to set a world record for the largest tree hug.

Parliament members, students, office workers and even Buddhist monks took part in the attempt, gathering at a park on the outskirts of Katmandu.

They said they were trying to set the record to celebrate World Environment Day by spreading awareness about the importance of trees.

Thaneswor Guragai, who coordinated the event, said: ‘Our goal is to set a new world record and at the same time spread the message that trees are important for the environment and everyone.’

The previous Guinness World Record for most people hugging trees simultaneously was 936 people in Portland, Oregon, last July.

Participants on Thursday held trees for two minutes as volunteers beat drums at the National Martyrs and Peace Park, on the northeast edge of Katmandu.

Rajan KC, who was among the 20 MPs who took part, said: ‘We are gathered here in our attempt to save the forests and make people aware that trees and forests are important for human civilisation.’

Most of the participants were students in their school uniforms.

Ninth-grader Ganga Pandit said that while she had planted samplings in the past, she felt it was important for her to join the campaign to save existing trees.

The organisers will send photos, video, a signed statement from the Parliament members who were there and the names of the participants to Guinness, which will decide whether to recognise the feat as a new record.

Guragai said it would take about two months to get a recognition certificate.