Terming plastic a serious menace, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has emphasised that the Ministry itself must take the lead in discouraging the use of plastic. “It is the beginning of the end of plastic menace,” Dr Vardhan declared. Speaking at an event to mark the announcement of India as Global Host of World Environment Day 2018 here today, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that for India, World Environment Day 2018 is “not a symbolic celebration, but a mission”. The Minister invited the people to take care of their Green Social Responsibility and urged them to take up Green Good Deeds in everyday life. Reiterating that Indians have learnt living in harmony with nature from the ancestors, Dr. Harsh Vardhan emphasised that for India, environmental issues are not merely technical issues, but real moral issues and a movement for the future generations. Addressing the gathering, Mr. Erik Solheim said that plastic is a huge environmental and health issue. “It is a health issue for ourselves, because when big plastics degrade into small pieces, it gets into the ocean. Small plastic particles are eaten by fish. We eat fish and the plastic gets into our body. So plastic pollution is a huge environment and health issue”, he said. Mr. Solheim expressed happiness that New Delhi has taken it upon itself to be the global host of World Environment Day 2018.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Dr Mahesh Sharma said that protection of environment is the call of the day, it is the call of humanity for the whole world, especially when we talk of India. “As a doctor, I understand the predicament, that pure air in Delhi and several other smart cities would be”, Dr. Mahesh Sharma pointed out.In his address, Secretary, MoEF&CC, Shri C.K Mishra pointed out that the World Environment Day celebrations this year are a commitment by the Government to the task of sustainable development. He underlined that the effort is to hand over a much better world to the future generations. “Respect for nature is an integral part of Indian thinking. So, for Indian society it is not something that is coming from outside, it comes from within and I guess that makes a world of difference to how you position your commitment to the cause,” Shri Mishra stated. He also added that the Ministry is working on creating mass awareness about the hazards of plastic pollution. Earlier, in a green initiative, Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched the first electric charging facility in any UN office in India at its Lodhi Road offices. Later, Dr Vardhan, accompanied by Dr Mahesh Sharma, Shri C.K. Mishra and Mr. Erik Solheim travelled in electric cars from the Indian headquarters of the United Nations Environment to the Ministry’s premises.