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, and 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, 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,” 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 Union Minister Dr Mahesh Sharma, i C.K. Mishra and Erik Solheim travelled in electric cars from the Indian headquarters of the United Nations Environment to the Ministry’s premises. Soon after their arrival at the Ministry’s premises, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri C.K. Mishra, Government of India and Under-Secretary General, United Nations & Executive Director, UN Environment, Mr. Erik Solheim signed a Letter of Intent in connection with hosting of World Environment Day in India this year.
Informatively, World Environment Day (WED) is observed on June 5 every year as the United Nation’s principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. First held in 1974, it has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues from marine pollution and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. WED has grown to become a global platform for protection of environment backed by over 143 countries.
Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Resident Coordinator of United Nations, Mr Yuri Afanasiev, Ms. Dechen Tsering and senior officers and officials of MoEF&CC were among those present on the occasion. World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated every year on June 5 and has always been a day of special importance for India. The day is celebrated for rededication of national efforts for sustainable development, to bring environmental concerns into the mainstream of the national developmental effort and also to bring people to the front of environmental conservation. “‘Beat Plastic Pollution’” is the theme of the World Environment Day this year. World Environment Day 2018 will be celebrated across the length and breadth of the country, involving all States and Union Territories, districts, local bodies and organizations. A week-long environmental awareness campaign and pollution mitigation activities are being planned in Delhi and other parts of the country from June, 1-5, 2018.