Wednesday, September 28, 2022

World Environment Day: Special drives in many parts of country to check pollution, plant trees

By PTI Updated: Jun 05, 2019 11:14 pm
A view of a drain clogged with garbage at Geeta Colony, New Delhi, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (PTI)

New Delhi, June 5 (PTI):
Special drives for tree plantation, cleaning rivers and creating awareness on steps to check pollution were held across the country to mark the World Environment Day on Wednesday.

Experts batted for urgent measures to check air pollution, the theme of the Environment Day this year, as a study claimed it has become a national emergency killing one lakh children under the age of five in India every year.

In their messages, President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that living in harmony with nature will lead to a better future and reaffirmed the commitment to a cleaner and sustainable planet.

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar planted saplings at the ministry headquarters here with celebrities like legendary cricketer Kapil Dev and actor Jackie Shroff. The minister also clicked a picture as part of the #SelfieWithSapling campaign he had launched on Tuesday to encourage people’s participation to tackle environmental issues.

“A small step may lead to a gigantic impact,” the minister tweeted.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi said until environment issues find a place in the country’s politics, they won’t get the importance they deserve.

New Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju announced that all state-run stadiums and academies will be made environment friendly.

Chairman of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel lamented that India is not taking the issue of air pollution seriously.

Addressing an event in Ahmedabad on the occasion of World Environment Day, Goel also said that not a single state in the country is complying with garbage disposal norms.

“The world is taking it (air pollution) so seriously, we are not. I am very sorry to tell all of you that no state in the whole country is compliant with waste management rules …. We need zero tolerance if air quality deteriorates beyond a point,” the NGT chairman added.

Causing pollution is no less an offense than murder or rape, he said.

A drive to clean Sabarmati river was launched in Ahmedabad by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani which will continue till June 9.

Mahatma Gandhi had set up his ashram on the banks of the Sabarmati river after his return from South Africa in 1915. On Wednesday, thousands of citizens took part in the drive to clean a stretch between Dufnala and Vasna barrage in Ahmedabad. Rupani also joined the volunteers.

The Gujarat government, meanwhile, launched ‘Emission Trading Scheme’ (ETS), under which a firm which reduces emissions below the stipulated limit can sell its surplus ’emission permits’. The government has claimed that it is the world’s first such scheme for Particulate Matter (PM) pollution.

Cleanliness drives were held in Bangalore in Karnataka and Thane in Maharashtra. Several NGOs conducted a drive to clean River Mahanadi in Siliguri in West Bengal.

The Coast Guard Eastern region for the first time conducted an underwater clean up programme in Bay of Bengal near the Chennai coast and managed to remove nearly 500 kg of trash in two hours

“This is the first time efforts are made in Indian waters for underwater clean-up to remove sunken debris to promote World Environment Day,” the Coast Guard said.

In a report, environment think tank CSE’s State of India’s Environment (SoE) said that on an average, 8.5 out of every 10,000 children in India die before they turn five, while the risk was higher for girls as 9.6 out of 10,000 girls die before five years of age due to bad air.

“Air pollution is responsible for 12.5 per cent of all deaths in India. Its impact on children is equally worrying. Over 1,00,000 children below the age of five die due to bad air in the country,” the CSE report said.

The study, which has covered wide range of topics, also said that the country is yet to identify indicators to track its climate change preparedness.

CSE claimed there has been a 22 per cent increase in India’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 2010 and 2014.

Recently, the government released a music video for this year’s theme of World Environment Day, “Hawa Aane De”. The video features Bollywood actors like Akshay Kumar and Rajkummar Rao, among others, and renowned singers like Shaan, Shankar Mahadevan and Sunidhi Chauhan have lent their voices.

In January this year, the Centre launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to reduce air pollution by 2024.

According to the Environment Ministry, the committee formed under the NCAP has met and an action plan has been drawn up for 84 of 102 non-attainment cities (cities which do not meet the national air quality standard) identified under the programme.

Himachal Pradesh government gave away State Environment Leadership Awards. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur flagged off awareness rallies, in which around 600 students from 30 schools of the town participated.

Several tree plantation and cleanliness drives were held in Uttarakhand with Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat exhorting people to plant more trees and shun polythene.

The chief minister also highlighted the initiatives taken by his government to revive Rispana and Bindal rivers in Garhwal and Kosi river in Kumaon.

Uttarkhand’s Tourism Department launched a cleanliness drive “Swachh Bharat Swachh Garhwal” in all the seven districts of Garhwal region.

Volunteers of the Rishikesh-based Paramartha Niketan carried out a cleanliness drive in Baghkhal area of the Rajaji National Park.

By PTI Updated: Jun 05, 2019 11:14:08 pm