Expressing confidence that a perceptible and measurable difference in the country will be brought about on plastic pollution and other environmental issues in the run-up to World Environment Day 2018, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan today appealed to the people to give up single use of plastic. Addressing a curtain raiser ahead of the World Environment Day on June 5 here today, Dr. Harsh Vardhan pointed out that the fight against plastic menace did not require any big actions, but only minor behavioural changes to adopt Green Good Behaviour. “Every individual has a Green Social Responsibility”, he said. The Minister stated that it is our collective responsibility to do our duty and protect the rights of children of future generations. He added that the celebrations are not a one-day activity, but a continuous process. Dr. Harsh Vardhan exhorted the media to effectively wield the pen and educate, as well as urge people to adopt one Green Good Deed every day. He also emphasised that as part of World Environment Day celebrations, schools that become plastic-free will be awarded and issued certificates of being Green Schools.Highlighting the menace posed by plastic, Dr. Harsh Vardhan pointed out that 25, 940 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day in the country, with 40% of plastic waste being uncollected and 60 million tonnes of solid waste is generated in one year. “Plastic bottle takes between 450-1000 years to decompose”, the Minister added.
The World Environment Day celebrations will be held from June 1-5, 2018 in New Delhi and across the country. Some of the events organised in New Delhi include “The Knowledge Coalitions” – international conversations to be held on June 1. Some of the themes to be discussed at the Knowledge Coalitions include – air pollution, Himalayan ecosystem, plastic pollution, marine litter strategy, new plastic economy and waste to resource. The technology exhibition – “Sambandh” will be held on the back lawns of lawns India Gate from June 2-4. The conference of State Environment Ministers - “Green India” will take place on June 4, besides conferences, workshops and seminars on various environmental subjects. On June 5, the Plenary session will be chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, where all the State Environment Ministers will also be present.The pan-India events include - cleanliness campaigns by state governments, cleaning of 24 beaches and 24 rivers in 19 states, making national parks and sanctuaries plastic free, media as well as social media campaigns and organising “Envithon” – mini-marathons in five other cities, besides Delhi. About 10, 000 children will participate in ‘Run for plastic litter free environment’ in New Delhi on June 3.
The objectives behind the campaigns are to enhance the global visibility of India as a leader in sustainability actions, support the efforts to Clean India ahead of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in October 2019, expand/consolidate public engagement on India’s environmental agenda, inculcate private sector leadership to address plastic pollution and urge citizens to take a pledge to change their behaviour around waste management and highlight India’s leadership in the cause of marine litter and beach cleaning. India is hosting the World Environment Day for the second time. MoEF&CC is hosting the World Environment Day 2018, in collaboration with UN Environment. India hosted the event in the year 2011, with the theme: ‘Forests: Nature at your Service’. In the run-up to the World Environment Day 2018, Dr. Harsh Vardhan had written to Environment Ministers of more than 150 countries to celebrate the day globally and take pledge to cut the use of single-use plastics.More than 10, 000 missed calls have been received in the “Missed Call Campaign” titled #BeatPlasticPollution. A pledge to beat plastic pollution can be taken by placing a missed call on 1800 137 1999.Secretary, MoEF&CC, Shri C.K Mishra, Director General (Forest) and Special Secretary, MoEF&CC, Dr. Siddhanta Das, Additional Secretaries, MoEF&CC, Shri A.K Jain and Shri A.K Mehta, Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board, Shri S.P.S Parihar, UN Environment, Head, Country office India, Shri Atul Bagai, Joint Secretary, MoEF&CC, Smt. Manju Pandey and senior officers of MoEF&CC were present on the occasion. Representatives from United Nations Environment (UNEP) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) were also present on the occasion.
BACKGROUND OF WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY:
5th June was designated as the World Environment Day by the UN General Assembly to commemorate the opening of the Stockholm Conference on Human Development. Annual celebrations of World Environment Day began in 1974.June 5 provides an occasion for responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment. Every action counts, and when multiplied by people across the world, its impact becomes exponential. Over 150 countries are celebrating World Environment Day, particularly for promoting the environmental dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals. During the last three years, the themes of World Environment Day celebrations included – “Seven billion dreams, one planet, consume with care” in 2015 in Rome, Italy, “Zero tolerance for the illegal wildlife trade” in Luanda, Angola, in 2016 and “Connecting people to nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator” in Ottawa, Canada, in 2017.