New Delhi: To raise awareness on protecting the environment and to reduce the burden of plastic pollution on natural places, wildlife and on health, the United Nations (UN) has designated June 5 as World Environment Day. This year’s theme is to ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’, which is a call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time – plastic pollution. India is the global host for World Environment Day this year, and is urging people to come forward and shun the use of single-use or disposable plastics, which pose a great danger to both human and marine life. With the message of #BeatPlasticPollution, celebrities, sports personalities, ministers and politicians are urging people to come together and work for a cleaner and greener environment, and explore sustainable alternatives to plastic.
Also, a wide range of programmes, host of activities and massive citizen participation are marking the 45th World Environment Day celebrations in India
Here’s are the top highlights from the World Environment Day celebrations in India, the host country
- “Together, let us ensure that our future generations live in a clean and green planet, in harmony with nature”, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of the World Environment.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to social media and shared a video focusing on how development and environment can coexist together. He said, “This year’s theme is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. I appeal to you that keeping in mind the value and importance of the theme, we all should ensure that we don’t use polythene and low grade plastic.”
- Wishing World Environment Day, President Ram Nath Kovind said, it is our duty to leave a greener and eco-friendly legacy to our children. While the Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said that World Environment Day 2018 is a mission for India, not just ‘symbolic’ celebration. The minister also invited people to take care of their Green Social Responsibility and urged them to take up Green Good Deeds in everyday life.
- Internationally acclaimed sand artist and Padma Awardee Sudarsan Pattnaik at Odisha’s Puri Beach created a sand turtle art that is 50ft long and 30ft wide. What is unique about this art is that it is made using 300 kilograms of plastic bottles to send out a strong message – #BeatPlasticPollution.
- In the wake of World Environment Day, the Tamil Nadu government banned the manufacture of plastic and the use of single-use plastics like water bottles, bags, cups, straw from January 1, 2019. Plastic packaging will only be allowed for milk, curd and medical items. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami has announced the plan for plastic free Tamil Nadu in state assembly.
- Minister of Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal tweeted about the initiative taken by Indian Railways to contribute towards a greener planet on World Environment Day. Taking a small step to beat plastic pollution, the Indian Railways has started using fully biodegradable packages for serving breakfast and other meals in 4 Shatabadi and 4 Rajadhani trains from Delhi.
- Speaking to NDTV, the UN Environment Head Erik Solheim, who has been a busy man, visiting India and participating in various activities in the run up to World Environment Day, said, “India is taking giant leaps towards ensuring a cleaner and healthier environment.”
- A number of celebrities took to Twitter to spread the message of beating the plastic pollution. Dia Mirza, Actor and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador wished everyone 45th World Environment Day with an urge to Beat Plastic Pollution. While actor Juhi Chawla posed with bamboo toothbrushes and accepted the #BeatPlasticPollution challenge (replace one daily-use plastic product with a sustainable alternative) which has been initiated by UN Environment. The actor further nominated Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Sachin Tendulkar, Sonam Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, Twinkle Khanna, Varun Dhawan, Anil Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty, to name a few. Even Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar shared greetings of World Environment Day, and requested everyone to look after the environment.
- On World Environment Day, Punjab government is set to launch a health programme named ‘Tandrust Punjab’. Under this mission, the Punjab government will have a focused and integrated approach by involving all the stakeholders to work towards creating a ‘Tandrust (healthy) Punjab’. Also any attempt to pollute the air, contaminate water and adulterate food will be seen as a crime against humanity and the state.
Also Read: Amritsar’s Golden Temple Takes A Step To Go Plastic Free, Discards Plastic Bags For Prasad
- Crickter Rohit Sharma and Gautam Gambhir tweeted their messages on World Environment Day. Worried with Shimla water crisis and everyone’s careless attitude towards the environment, Cricketer Gautam Gambhir said, “I think instead of #WorldEnvironmentDay let’s rename it as #WorldSurvivalDay. May be then we’ll realise we are on the brink of our carelessness & greed-infused disasters. Just look at water crisis in Shimla.” While Rohit Sharma urged people to make ‘looking after our environment’ a part of their daily routine.
- Even the corporates came forward and extended their support to beat plastic pollution. ONGC pledged to eliminate single use plastic across its offices by 2020 and make it into paperless by 2019, while Hindustan Unilever pledged to make all plastic packaging to be reusable recyclable or compostable by 2025. Furthermore, the consumer good corporation Procter & Gamble announced that all global leadership brands will have packaging which is reusable and recyclable by 2030. The company will also initiate global diaper and sanitary napkin recycling programmes in 10 global cities, and India will be one of the first countries where programme will be launhced.