Home South Asia India India announces initiatives for a clean environment

India announces initiatives for a clean environment

environment

News Analysis |

India turned its hosting of this year’s World Environment Day into far more than a symbolic act when it announced plans Tuesday to eliminate all single-use plastics by 2022, UN Environment Program reported. Also India aims to partner with the UN to use solar energy at the world body’s premises as part of the efforts to protect and preserve environment, the country’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin has said.

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day was “Beat Plastic Pollution,” and India’s decision could be a “game-changing” part of that effort, since it is home to 1.3 billion people and is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, head of U.N. Environment news and media Keith Weller told CBS.

“This has been the biggest, most resonant World Environment Day ever, thanks to the leadership of our global host India,” Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim said in the press release. “India has made a phenomenal commitment and displayed clear, decisive and global environmental leadership. This will inspire the world and ignite real change.”

Plastic pollution is a major problem in India, which generates 25,000 tonnes (approximately 27557.78 U.S. tons) of plastic waste every year and only recycles 60 percent of it, Vardhan said in an IANS article reprinted by the Economic Times Tuesday.

The announcement was officially made by Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Dr. Harsh Vardhan, who touted it as a way to “achieve the India of our dreams.” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke on the importance of combining economic growth with environmental action.

Read more: Modi successfully cleans up India

“It is the duty of each one of us, to ensure that the quest for material prosperity does not compromise our environment,” Modi said. “The choices that we make today, will define our collective future. The choices may not be easy. But through awareness, technology, and a genuine global partnership, I am sure we can make the right choices. Let us all join together to beat plastic pollution and make this planet a better place to live.”

In addition to the plastics phase-out, the country also joined UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign. India will develop action plans to combat marine litter at the national and regional level and measure the total amount of plastic pollution in the waters off of India’s 7,500 kilometers (approximately 4660 miles) of coastline.

Plastic pollution is a major problem in India, which generates 25,000 tonnes (approximately 27557.78 U.S. tons) of plastic waste every year and only recycles 60 percent of it, Vardhan said in an IANS article reprinted by the Economic Times Tuesday.

It is also an increasingly visible problem, as plastic increasingly clutters the country’s landscape and beaches. “There is a huge issue of waste management in India and everyone can see that; we went from train to Agra from Delhi and we saw. There was plastic all over the rails, that’s a problem,” Solheim told IANS.

Read more: Clean Water Becoming a Myth for Indians

India has taken some steps to counter plastic pollution already on a national and regional level. It banned non-compostable plastic bags in 2016, CBS reported.

India aims to partner with the UN to use solar energy at the world body’s premises as part of the efforts to protect and preserve environment, the country’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin has said.

According to a UN plastics report also launched Tuesday, regional bans have had various success. Of the 10 regional bans listed in the report, two bans, in the states of Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim, have seen significant to moderate results, while four bans, including one in New Delhi have had little to no impact, and four could not be assessed due to limited data.

Read more: Climate Change: India rocked by thunder and dust storms

“Every action counts as we seek to protect and preserve our environment. All of us have a collective responsibility towards this. As part of these efforts India is happy to inform that it intends to partner with the UN Secretariat to use renewable solar energy at the UN premises,” Akbaruddin said at the commemoration of World Environment Day yesterday.

He expressed hope that by next year’s World Environment Day commemoration, solar energy will be part of the energy mix used in the UN headquarters.  In his message marking the day, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said a healthy planet was essential for a prosperous and peaceful future, asserting that everyone has a role to play in “protecting our only home”.


LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here