WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY (WED)
World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated on 5th June every year. World Environment Day is the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. Since it began in 1974, the event has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.
WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
Above all, World Environment Day is the “people’s day” for doing something to take care of the Earth. That “something” can be local, national or global. It can be a solo action or involve a crowd. Everyone is free to choose. Theme Each World Environment Day is organized around a theme that draws attention to a particularly pressing environmental concern. Theme is declared by UNEP. The host Every World Environment Day has a different host country, where the official celebrations take place. The focus on the host country helps highlight the environmental challenges it faces and supports worldwide efforts to address them.
WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY (WED)
The theme for 2019 is “Air pollution”. This year’s host is China.
INDIA AND WED
Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, in collaboration with Bhamla Foundation, Mumbai, has produced the theme song on the subject. The song #HawaAaneDe with celebrities and influencers is intended to carry out the message of Air Pollution. The song is a call to action for all to come together to combat the environmental challenges of our time, urging each one of us to explore green technologies and measures to improve the quality of air and make the country and our cities less polluted.
Union Environment Minister launched a people’s campaign #SelfiewithSapling urging all to join and plant a sapling and post the selfie with the sapling on social media.
It stressed that ‘Jan Bhagidari’ is integral towards tackling the environmental issues and environment protection has to be a people’s movement.
Air pollution is the biggest environmental health risk of our time. Airborne pollutants are responsible for about one third of deaths from stroke, chronic respiratory disease, and lung cancer, as well as one quarter of deaths from heart attack. Air pollution is also fundamentally altering our climate, with profound impacts on the health of the planet. India hosted the last year’s World Environment Day emphasizing on prevention of ‘Plastic Pollution’. Some Air Pollution Facts 92 percent of people worldwide do not breathe clean air. Air pollution costs the global economy $5 trillion every year in welfare costs Ground-level ozone pollution is expected to reduce staple crop yields by 26 percent by 2030. India has formulated and launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). This is a long term and time bound national level strategy to tackle the increasing pollution problem across the country. The objective of NCAP is comprehensive plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution besides augmenting the air quality monitoring network. The tentative national level target is reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 20% – 30% by 2024. The focus of this year WED is on the identified 102 Non attainment cities across the country.
On the occasion of World Environment Day, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has organised a day-long convention to discuss ways to protect River Ganga and its tributaries.
In order to increase public participation in Namami Gange program and encourage the youth, the NMCG had organised ‘Ganga Quest’, a pan India bilingual quiz. In the event, the quiz winners were awarded exciting prizes and certificates distributed by Shekhawat.
EMISSION TRADING SYSTEM
Gujarat has launched India’s first trading programme to combat particulate air pollution on World Environment Day 2019, which has air pollution as its theme.
The programme is a market-based system where the government sets a cap on emissions and allows industries to buy and sell permits to stay below the cap. Being initiated in Surat by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), the emission trading scheme (ETS) was designed with the help of a team of researchers from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), the Economic Growth Center at Yale University and others from The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). GPCB chose Surat as it is a densely-populated industrial centre where textile and dye mills cause a significant amount of air pollution. It will be implemented across 350 industrial units in the city in a phased manner, with around 160 units in the first phase. Under the cap and trade system, the regulator first defines the total mass of pollution that can be put into the air over a defined period by all factories put together. Then, a set of permits is created, each of which allows a certain amount of pollution, and the total is equal to the cap.
These permits are the quantity that is bought and sold. Each factory is allocated a share of these permits (this could be equal or based on size or some other rule). After this, plants can trade permits with each other, just like any other commodity on the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX). The reason for trading is that in a cap and trade market, the regulator will measure pollution over a period of time and industries must own enough permits to cover their total emissions. Factories who find it very expensive to reduce pollution, will seek to buy more permits. Those who can easily reduce pollution are encouraged to do so because then they have excess permits to sell. Eventually, after buying and selling by plants that find it cheap to cut pollution and those for whom it is expensive, most pollution is taken care of. Whatever the final allocation, the total number of permits does not change so the total pollution is still equal to the predefined cap. And yet the costs to industry are decreased.
For now, the government has set a cap on concentration of emissions for each industrial unit at 150 microgramme per cubic metre (ug/m3), which is the 24-hour average for emission standard set by the Central government for industrial units. Globally, cap-and-trade systems have been used to reduce other forms of pollution, such as programmes that have successfully reduced sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the United States. But the Gujarat programme is the first in the world to regulate particulate air pollution.
UN’S EQUATOR PRIZE
The women sangams (groups) of the Deccan Development Society have bagged the United Nation’s Equator Prize for 2019. They have been selected for standing as ‘an outstanding example of a local, nature-based solution to climate change and sustainable development.’ The women farmers, majority of them are Dalits, have been building their own seed banks and growing millets in the predominantly rain-fed villages of Sangareddy district.
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad has launched ‘M2Smart Project’ Testbed to develop a model to find low-carbon models for the transportation sector. The Testbed will generate a practical ‘handbook’ on low carbon urban transportation for developing countries based on big data generated by vehicular traffic. The M2Smart (Smart Cities for Emerging Countries based on Sensing, Network and Big Data Analysis of Multi-modal Regional Transport System) is an IndoJapanese joint research project. Researchers from Nihon University and Nagoya Electric Works of Japan are also working on the project.
A new study has found that as many as 2.34 crore people in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh are exposed to high levels of arsenic in groundwater. About 78 percent of the population in the state lives in rural areas and depends on ground water for irrigation, drinking, cooking and other domestic use. Risk of exposure to arsenic is much higher in rural areas than cities as piped water supply is not available in most villages. Natural contamination of groundwater with arsenic poses a health threat in many regions where people rely on hand pumps or tube wells for drinking water. Arsenic exposure has cause skin lesions, skin cancer, bladder, lungs and cardiovascular diseases as well as reduced intellectual function in children.
Not all animals migrate by choice COMPAIGN
Campaign launched by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of India and UN Environment aimed at airports across India. Tiger, Pangolin, Star Tortoise and Tokay Gecko featured in the campaign. In India, illegal trade in wildlife has seen a sharp rise in recent years.
It is an awareness campaign ‘Not all animals migrate by choice’ to be displayed at major airports across the country. It aims at creating awareness and garnering public support for the protection and conservation of wildlife, prevention of smuggling and reduction in demand for wildlife products. The campaign also complements worldwide action on illegal trade in wildlife through UN Environment’s global campaign, Wild for Life.