NEW DELHI: Pitching for collective efforts to deal with critical issues of climate change and pollution, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the environment is not just a global cause, but also personal as well as collective responsibility for every individual, and environment conservation is a commitment and not compulsion for India.
"Human empowerment is impossible without a better environment and the way forward is through collectiveness rather than selectiveness," said Modi in his written message to the TERI's annual World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) which was jointly inaugurated here by Guyana vice president Bharrat Jagdeo, COP28 president designate Sultan Al Jaber of UAE, and India's environment minister Bhupender Yadav.
Underlining India's efforts to deal with the global challenges through long-term roadmap for sustainable and environment friendly lifestyle, the Prime Minister said, "Our initiatives to adopt a healthier, cleaner lifestyle include upgrading infrastructure to encourage electric mobility, increased use of biofuel for transportation, leverage hydrogen as a fuel, convert waste to wealth and water treatment plants to ensure clean rivers.
"We are striving to meet an increased portion of our demand for electricity from renewable and alternative sources of energy. Through latest technology and innovation, we are devising solutions to diverse urban challenges, particularly pollution and cleanliness."
The inaugural day of the three-day Summit saw the participants make a clarion call to keep the 1.5 degree Celsius goal alive without compromising on the principles of equity and justice at forums such as the G20 and the UN climate conferences (COPs). They also emphasized on the need to provide financial support to developing countries for facing those challenges, and looked to India for taking up leadership roles in resolving various issues during its G20 presidency.
Pointing out that it is impossible for many developing countries to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without financing, the vice president of Guyana said, "The small countries not only need climate finance, they need a reform of the global financial system to achieve sustainable development."
Underlining the criticality of balance in the discourse on sustainable development in order to find lasting solutions, he said, "We need to reduce the production of fossil fuels, we need carbon capture, utilization and storage, and we need a mass transit into renewable energy. It is the combined action on all three fronts that will deliver lasting solutions. But often the debate is between the extremes, and sometimes it clouds the search for solutions. Balance is crucial."
In his opening address, India's environment minister noted that combating climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation transcend political considerations and is a shared global challenge. “India is contributing significantly to be a part of the solution,” he said while noting how living in harmony with nature has been traditionally in Indian ethos and the same has been reflected by the mantra LiFE or 'Lifestyle for Environment' coined by Prime Minister Modi.
The COP28 president designate, Al Jaber, who received the distinguished alumni award from TERI School of Advanced Studies on the occasion, noted that the goal of keeping 1.5 degree Celsius alive is just non-negotiable. "It is also clear we cannot continue business-as-usual. We need a true, comprehensive paradigm shift in our approach to mitigation, adaptation, finance, and loss and damage,”he said.
Recognizing the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for guiding India on its path to a sustainable future, Al Jaber said, "This great country is well on its way to becoming the third largest economy in the world. And this makes it one of the largest consumers of energy.
As such, India’s sustainable development is critical, not just for India, but for the whole world."
The first day of the Summit saw different proceedings on its theme - ‘Mainstreaming Sustainable Development and Climate Resilience for Collective Action’. India's G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant also participated in one of the key sessions where he highlighted different points around Mission LiFE, climate finance, circular economy and the need to decarbonise hard to abate sectors through green hydrogen.Read More
Bisleri International Pvt. Ltd., India's leading mineral water company, has strengthened its sustainability strategy by launching 'Bisleri Greener Promise.' The sustainability philosophy focuses on creating a greener future by reinforcing and implementing programs in recycling, water conservation and sustainability.
Under the aegis of this philosophy, the company has become one of the first consumer goods companies to be plastic-neutral and water positive. It further emphasizes its promise to the sustainable development of the country by announcing bold initiatives under plastic recycling and water conservation.
The company has outlined its vision to connect with 20 major cities to collect and recycle 12,500 tonnes of plastic by 2025, through its Bottles for Change initiative. Additionally, it has also announced restoration or building of 350 dams in Maharashtra and Gujarat to provide water security and enhance crop production. Under the initiative, Project Nayi Umeed, more than 35,000 million litres of water will be harvested, and it will help irrigate more than 23,000 acres of land. The company aims to reduce its carbon footprint by 10% and lower the use of virgin plastic by over 7%.
Furthermore, the company released its sustainability report defining its progress in environment, social, and governance (ESG) practices. The report has been developed by TERI School of Advanced Studies. It highlights the company's efforts in building a circular economy, utilising resources efficiently, reducing GHG emissions, replenishing water, and recollecting packaging material.
Angelo George, CEO, Bisleri International Pvt. Ltd., said, "At Bisleri International, we develop solutions that fuel business growth and, at the same time, address environmental challenges. We are in constant pursuit of creating a positive impact, and continue to integrate our business strategy with sustainability goals. Thus, ensuring that we operate purposefully and responsibly. Innovations in packaging will continue to be our focus for the next three years and we aim to be ready for the guidelines on reuse targets stipulated by Government."
As part of its commitment to protect the environment and mitigate the effects of irresponsible disposal of used plastic, Bisleri International's Bottle For Change initiative works towards bringing behavioural change and raising awareness about the importance of post-consumer plastic. Through the programme, Bisleri International has brought a behavioural change amongst 600,000 citizens by organising sensitisation workshops and collection drives. These workshops and drives were conducted at over 3500 housing societies, 680 educational institutions, 790 corporates, and 600 hotels & restaurants across seven cities. The efforts have resulted in collecting and recycling over 4000MT of used plastic.
For Project Nayi Umeed, the company focuses on building or restoring Check Dams, rainwater harvesting and empowering communities. It provides access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, benefiting farmers and their families. Through the programme, it has built or restored over 200 Check Dams in Gujarat and Maharashtra. These Check Dams have helped harvest approximately 22 billion litres of water, covering more than 124 villages and benefiting almost 40,000 family members of farmers. Over 13,000 acres of land have been irrigated through the project, turning barren lands into fertile farms. Also, for every litre of water drawn, eight litres of water is replenished from the ground.
Dr Shruti Sharma, assistant professor, TERI, SAS, said, “We at TERI School of Advanced Studies believe that resource efficiency and waste management are the keys to smart, sustainable and inclusive development. We work together internally and externally to maximize shared knowledge and impact. Bisleri International Private Limited has been practicing triple bottom line as an approach. We are happy to partner with them to develop their first Sustainability report. Hope this aligns all their stakeholders to their work towards sustainable development.”Read More
Panaji: Speaking at a conference, environment minister Nilesh Cabral urged the state’s students to volunteer for climate monitoring, especially measuring temperature, rainfall, and wind speed on a regular basis. Tulsi Gouda, a Padma Shri awardee popularly known as the ‘Encyclopedia of Forests’, was the chief guest at the event. Gouda appealed to the young audience to plant more trees.
The minister and Gouda were speaking on the final day of the two-day national conference on ‘Sustainable Development: Addressing Climate Change, Global Warming & Carbon Footprints’, on Tuesday. The conference was hosted at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao.
Gouda spoke about the importance of trees and forests in maintaining the ecological balance, while BITS Pilani Goa Campus professor Rajiv Kumar Chaturvedi called for more research on climate change.
The conference received 57 abstracts from institutes across India, of which 21 were selected for presentation. The paper presenters included those from TERI School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi; Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; JNU, New Delhi; Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi; and Goa University. Participants from eight states presented papers at the conference organized by the department of economics of Government College, Quepem, in association with the state directorate of higher education and Goa State Biodiversity Board.Read More
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A year after Haryana's EMP submitted to NGT said it will notify Najafgarh as a wetland, state officials said they have prepared a re-assessment plan
GURUGRAM: The Haryana government intends to reassess the status of Najafgarh Jheel with a two-year action plan that puts on hold implementation of the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) directed by the NGT, and as a result, at least a delay in notifying the area as a wetland.
State officials said on Sunday that the government will submit a report for the two-year assessment plan within 10 days to the inter-ministerial committee formed by the Union environment ministry. The committee will likely submit the report before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on July 31.
The committee was formed after NGO INTACH filed a petition before the NGT in 2018, seeking declaration of Najafgarh as a wetland and measures for conservation. The NGT had then asked both the Delhi and Haryana governments - as the 4,740 hectare-water body is divided among the states - to prepare separate EMPs
A year after Haryana's EMP submitted to NGT said it will notify Najafgarh as a wetland, state officials said they have prepared a re-assessment plan.
Over the next two years, this plan will aim at draining water from the submerged area in Najafgarh because officials believe most of the region is under wastewater released from Gurugram . It involves creating a 6km-bundh near the water body, installation of gates and pumps around to it to divert wastewater to the Jhajjar drain, and connecting the Najafgarh drain to the Badshapur and Dhanwapur drains.
After this exercise, expected to take at least two years, the state will study how much area in Najafgarh is still under water. The EMP will be implemented on the areas that are naturally submerged, officials said.
"We will be submitting a report within a week or 10 days to the inter-ministerial committee. We had a meeting on Wednesday in Delhi regarding the same. It has been observed that 10 years back, the submergence area in Najafgarh used to be 100-150 acres, now it has expanded to 2,000 acres. We are trying to identify the reasons. This area is not a natural wetland as it gets flooded because of the wastewater of Gurugram . We will try to manage this issue," said Virender Singh, engineer-in-chief of the state's irrigation department.
Singh is the nodal officer for assessing Najafgarh's status as a wetland.
"Najafgarh is not a natural wetland and thus the state government does not think that it needs an EMP at present," he added.
When asked if the Haryana government was planning to withdraw the EMP, he said that no such decision had been taken yet. "After the assessment, if we find that 20-30 acres is still getting flooded, then we will have an EMP," the nodal officer added.
The Najafgarh jheel spanning across 4,740 hectares - 2,600 in Delhi and 2,140 in Haryana - is a key habitat for migratory and resident birds. Nearly 300 bird species are spotted in the jheel every year. It acts as a large aquifer to recharge groundwater of neighbouring areas, including Gurugram . Many creeks from the Aravallis also flow into the water body.
Experts said on Sunday the move by the Haryana government could not just delay the EMP, but also completely do away with the need to declare it as a wetland.
"This plan of Haryana clearly indicates that it doesn't have any intention of declaring Najafgarh area as a wetland or implementing the EMP. This is a concern... The area is not suitable for construction," said Vaishali Rana Chandra, a Gurugram -based environmentalist.
Both the Delhi and Haryana governments last year submitted their EMPs for Najafgarh jheel's conservation to the NGT, which was hearing the INTACH petition.
They had expressed the intent to declare it as a wetland under the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017, which would give the two governments powers to introduce conservation measures and prohibit activities such as encroachments, disposal of waste, etc.
Haryana's EMP had noted that the water body was useful for a range of reaons - as flood buffer, carbon sink and biodiversity hotspot, among others.
The Delhi EMP had also pointed out that the jheel was a "critical natural infrastructure for the region" and provided "habitat to numerous plant and animal species".
The Haryana EMP had been prepared by the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB). The government in March this year made the irrigation department the nodal agency for assessment of Najafgarh as a wetland, with the state's pollution board no longer a part of the exercise.
Ritu Rao, a research scholar at the Teri School of Advanced Studies who is working on urban water-bodies sustainability, underscored the need to protect wetlands. "Wetlands can be natural or man-made, inland or coastal, permanent or temporary... These wetlands are critical for buffering floods, treating wastewater, recharging groundwater, moderating microclimate and sustaining the biodiversity of a region," she said.
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