For the 43rd edition of the World Environment Day — an event observed by the United Nations on 5 June every year to encourage worldwide awareness for protection of the environment — India is the global host for official celebrations to take place. The United Nations has set this year's theme as “Beat Plastic Pollution”, which, as mentioned on its official website, is a "call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time".
According to the United Nations, the theme is an invitation to all to consider the changes that can be made in everyday lives to reduce the "heavy burden of plastic pollution". In his message, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the message is simple: "Reject single-use plastic. Refuse what you can’t re-use."
Our world is swamped by harmful plastic waste. By 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish. On World Environment Day, let’s all do our part to #BeatPlasticPollution. pic.twitter.com/YZOlJZIA1H
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) June 4, 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to chair a plenary session in New Delhi on Tuesday which will culminate the five-day celebrations. State environment ministers, representatives from the United Nations, and members from various industry bodies will be among the various dignitaries attending the event. Modi will also visit the exhibition set up on the occasion at the Rajpath lawns.
In his latest edition of ‘Mann Ki Baat' radio programme, Modi had underlined that India being named the official host of the World Environment Day celebrations was a recognition of the country's growing leadership in tackling climate change issues. He had also urged people to shun plastic to protect environment.
On Monday, Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan unveiled the first non-plastic bound copy of the National Geographic magazine. To go with 2018's theme, the plastic wrapping of the magazine in India, UK and the US editions has been eliminated from June onwards.
"There are diverse environmental hazards associated with the plastic waste and there are growing concerns about its effects on entire ecosystem. Therefore, how to reduce the use of plastic and its by-products is one area which needs to be addressed," Harsh Vardhan had said.
India produces about 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste every year. According to the Vardhan, only 60 percent of this gets recycled.
Ahead of the official unveiling of the magazine, a senior editor at the National Geographic had shared the June 2018 cover featuring a plastic bag resembling an iceberg floating in an ocean. The cover was heavily praised on social media, with many describing it as "genius" and "powerful".
World Environment Day is marked every year on 5 June as by the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate the opening of the Stockholm Conference on Human Development. Annual celebrations of World Environment Day began in 1974.
As part of the celebrations, several workshops and thematic sessions on various issues had begun in New Delhi days ahead of the World Environment Day .
The environment ministry has said 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.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jun 05, 2018 09:09 AM