- India will host World Environment Day in June 2018
- This year’s theme is reducing plastic pollution
- India’s efforts in curbing plastic pollution impressive: UN Representative
New Delhi: Come June 2018, and India will be the host of World Environment Day 2018. India was declared as the global host for the 44th World Environment Day celebrations by the United Nations and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests on February 19. The ‘Letter of Intent’ was signed at the presence of Union Minister for Environment Dr Harsh Vardhan and Erik Solheim, Environment Head, United Nations. Reducing plastic pollution has been chosen as 2018’s theme for World Environment Day. The UN is urging governments across the world to bring together communities and fight the menace of plastic. Plastics have been a known health hazard and are chief marine pollutants, threatening aquatic life. Tweeting about choosing India as the hosts for World Environment Day 2018, Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim said that India’s leadership on reducing plastic pollution is absolutely critical.
India is one of the world’s biggest plastic waste generators, accounting for producing nearly 56 lakh tonnes of plastic annually. Nearly 6,000 tonnes of plastic waste remains uncollected across the country daily, adding to the environmental woes. Governments have time and again reiterated their commitment to reduce plastic pollution. In the past few years, the Union government has engaged in several plastic cleanup activities, removing plastic waste from beaches and drawing plans to open more plastic to energy plants to tackle India’s plastic problem. Recognising India’s initiatives in reducing plastic pollution, the UN Environment Programme decided that India would be a country fit to host an event of such a scale.
— Erik Solheim (@ErikSolheim) February 19, 2018
Speaking at the event, Union Minister for Environment Dr Harsh Vardhan said that India will be excited to host the World Environment Day celebrations as it has been Indian tradition to co-exist with nature. The Union Minister said that India was committed towards making the world a greener place, and that was only possible when individuals took upon responsibility to commit themselves to at least one good green deed daily.
Plastic pollution in India has reached unprecedented levels due to wide usage of plastic in daily lives, be it industrial or domestic usage. There is a stark imbalance between the amount of plastic used daily, and the amount recycled with only 27% of plastic produced being recycled, leading to a large amount of plastic waste lying either idly as garbage mounds or dumped in oceans. As pointed out by Mr Solheim, India’s efforts in the recent past to tackle its plastic waste have been inspirational. The government has laid down plans to construct more plastic recycling plants. Individuals, like Afroz Shah have been instrumental in cleaning up beaches in Mumbai where significant amount of plastic waste is dumped. It can only be hoped that being host to World Environment Day 2018 celebrations will ensure better management of plastic waste in India.