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Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan today asserted that protecting the planet was not just a government's political or social obligation, but a moral responsibility as well.
He announced that India would host World Environment Day, 2018.
Speaking on the second day of the three-day 3rd United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Vardhan noted that a healthy environment was necessary for eradicating poverty and that India expects (climate) action from other developed and developing nations to fulfil their historical responsibilities.
His comments come at a time when Delhi and other states in the northern belt of the country are facing severe air pollution crisis.
"Stating that scientific facts clearly indicate that pollution has an impact on human health and well-being, and has long-term implications on Sustainable Development Goals, the environment minister said a healthy environment was necessary for eradicating poverty," an official statement quoted Vardhan as saying.
"He also stated that the legitimate priority and needs of developing countries and their rights to equitable access to sustainable development and social progress need to be taken into account," it said.
The environment minister also underlined India's "ambitious" plans to combat the pollution menace.
"Protecting mother earth is not just our political or social obligation, it is our moral responsibility," he noted.
Recounting various government initiatives that reflect the commitment to tackle pollution and health-related issues, Vardhan talked about 'Swacchh Bharat Mission' to attain the vision of a Clean India by October 2, 2019 among others.