On June 5 every year, the nature empaths around the globe celebrate World Environment Day, encourage awareness, and observe its protection. Since 1974, World Environment Day has been celebrated, engaging governments, businesses, and citizens in an effort to address pressing environmental issues, with participation from over 143 countries annually.
World Environment Day came into existence in 1972 by the United Nations Assembly on the first day Stockholm Conference held on the human environment and later in 1974, the day started to be celebrated with the theme "Only One Earth".
The idea for rotating the center of these activities through selecting different host countries began in 1987. In 2013, the anthem was launched on the occasion of World Environment Day in New Delhi.
Over the years, the day became a global platform for raising awareness and taking action on urgent issues from marine pollution and global warming to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime.
This year, the theme of World Environment Day is "Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.". The global host for the day in 2021 to highlight the importance of ecosystem restoration is Pakistan.
According to the WED website, every three seconds, the world loses enough forest to cover a football pitch, and over the last century, humans have destroyed half of the wetlands. As much as 50 per cent of coral reefs have already been lost and up to 90 per cent of coral reefs could be lost by 2050, even if global warming is limited to an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The theme means to prevent, halt and reverse this damage – to go from exploiting nature to healing it. This World Environment Day will kick off the global mission to revive these billions of hectares.
The theme focuses that healthy ecosystems can enhance people’s livelihoods, counteract climate change and stop the collapse of biodiversity.
India on World Environment Day
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in a World Environment Day event at 11 am via video conferencing, according to his office.
Modi will release 'Report of the Expert Committee on Road Map for ethanol blending in India 2020-2025'.
To commemorate the day, the government is releasing E-20 notification directing oil companies to sell ethanol-blended petrol with percentage of ethanol up to 20 from April 1, 2023; and BIS specifications for higher ethanol blends E12 and E15.
According to a report of market research firm UnearthInsight, the carbon emission by the Indian IT outsourcing industry has dropped by about 85 per cent to around 0.3 million tonnes due to reduced travelling, work from home and online hiring process during the Covis-19 lockdowns.
In Uttarakhand, the state's forest department on the eve of World Environment Day released a list of 1,576 plant species conserved, including the ones that are unique to the Himalayan region. Apart from the plant species that are unique or endemic to the Himalayan region, the list also includes those species declared threatened' in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.
Apart from these, numerous Members of Parliament across parties have pledged to go vegan for the day -- by forgoing meat, dairy, and other animal-derived food to raise awareness.
In a study in the journal Nature, it is found that greenhouse gas emissions from food systems would be reduced by half if the world turned to a mainly plant-based diet. Researchers at the University of Oxford also found that every person who goes vegan lowers their carbon footprint by up to 73 per cent and saves nearly 200 animals per year.
COVID EFFECT ON ENVIRONMENT
Even though the lockdowns helped the environment to breathe better air quality for a while, but according to the Central Pollution Control Board, India has produced 45,308 tonnes of biomedical waste between June 2020 and May 10, 2021, an average daily generation of 132 tonnes of Covid-19 related waste.
This is in addition to the 615 tonnes of biomedical waste a day being produced before Covid-19, amounting to a 17 per cent increase in biomedical waste generation solely because of the pandemic.
Notwithstanding the unprecedented health and environmental crisis, the experts said there are ways to minimise the damage.
To begin with, Singh said individuals needed to consciously reduce their plastic footprint, with the help of a comprehensive strategy and a comprehensive roadmap.