India aims to partner with the UN to use solar energy at the world body's premises as part of the efforts to protect and preserve environment, the country's Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin has said.
India was the global host for the World Environment Day celebrations this year. Marking the day, the Indian government announced its pledge to eliminate by 2022 all single use of plastics in India.
It also committed to making a 500-metre area around 100 historic monuments, including the iconic Taj Mahal litter-free and free from plastic pollution through the Taj Declaration.
"Every action counts as we seek to protect and preserve our environment. All of us have a collective responsibility towards this. As part of these efforts India is happy to inform that it intends to partner with the UN Secretariat to use renewable solar energy at the UN premises," Akbaruddin said at the commemoration of World Environment Day yesterday.
He expressed hope that by next year's World Environment Day commemoration, solar energy will be part of the energy mix used in the UN headquarters.
In his message marking the day, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said a healthy planet was essential for a prosperous and peaceful future, asserting that everyone has a role to play in "protecting our only home".
"Our world is swamped by harmful plastic waste. Every year, more than eight million tonnes end up in the oceans," he said.
Pointing out the astonishing comparison between stars in the cosmos and ocean plastics, Guterres underscored that "from remote islands, to the Artic, nowhere is untouched".
If present trends continue, by 2050 our oceans will have more plastic than fish, he said.
Guterres encouraged everyone to also stop using plastic products which are designed just to be thrown away such as plastic bottles.
"Refuse what you can't re-use. Together, we can chart a path to a cleaner, greener world," he said.
Since it was first celebrated in 1974, World Environment Day has helped raise awareness and generate political momentum around global environmental concerns such as ozone depletion, desertification and global warming.
Akbaruddin said while the human civilisation has made all-round progress in controlling diseases and benefiting from technological marvels, the rapid change is also impacting the planet's environment in various ways, through over reliance on fossil fuels and unsustainable consumption and production patterns.
"The impacts of human actions on degrading our environment - our air, rivers, oceans, forests, rural and urban spaces; threatening the survival of a large number of species including those vital to our own food chain; depleting natural resources; are in fact a threat to our own survival in the long run," he said.
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