New Delhi, May 3— Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, almost the entire world is under lockdown for around two months, so is India. The lockdown was aimed at saving people from the contagious disease but along with that, it has also let the Nature reclaim its space and bloom. On this Earth Day, observed globally on April 22, the blue planet was cleaner than in past many decades.
On this 50th Earth Day, concerned citizens stood up for Nature. Citizens in India came together with pledges of simple actions. Nature gets time to heal, rejuvenate and sustain itself.
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs but not every man’s greed,” Mahatma Gandhi had once said.
Nature is reclaiming its space amid the lockdown due to the COVID-19. Birds are back, rivers are clean and nature seems to be thriving without human interference.
With a drop in pollution levels across India, Himalayan mountains can be seen from hundreds of kilometres away in Jalandhar city of Punjab. The Holy River Ganga flows clean and pristine in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. Wildlife seen roaming the streets in many Indian towns and cities. With people staying at home, Nature is blooming.
As the factories and industries are shut due to the lockdown, the industrial pollutants and industrial waste have stopped flowing into the rivers and this has a definite effect on water quality of the Yamuna River in Delhi.
A 21-day nationwide lockdown was imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24, it was extended on April 14 for another 19 days and it has got second extension for 14 days till May 17.
Messages and Pledges of Citizens
Bollywood actor Dia Mirza, who is also UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for India, said: “Simplify life, consume less, grow more, encourage policymakers and governments to make better policies. I think this is the basic we can all do.”
This Earth Day citizens across India rallied with small steps. They individually pledged to save the Earth.
Aparajita, Veganism advocate, said: “A vegan diet is one of the biggest ways to reduce your impact on planet earth. Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meats and dairy. Think about it and change your diet.”
Muthu Rubhan, environmentalist: “A home energy audit you can easily do it yourself. Make a simple checklist for each room. Please try to replace your old appliances with energy efficient star-rated new ones and stand against global warming.”
Anchal Sharma, environmentalist: “Having a kitchen garden is one of the best things you can do right now.”
With tips and ideas ranging from personal behaviour change to home improvements to giving back to Nature, the 50th Earth Day was marked in the country with citizen-led solutions.
Niki Singh, sustainability advocate, said: “If you look at your dustbin, the majority of the waste will be wet waste. So what can you do with this wet waste? It is simple, you can start composting at your home, in your balcony, put your wet waste in an earthen pot, layer it with dry leaves and give it a mix every few days. In 30-40 days you will notice that its completely composted and is great manure for your plants.”
Rajendra Shende, environmentalist and former director of United Nations Environmental Programme, said: “We have to look and reflect on our unethical practices of encroaching upon Nature’s plans. United Nations has declared the decade starting from 2020 as a decade of action because at the end of this decade we should have achieved the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.”
A manifesto of 50 steps towards climate action was built from these citizen voices and adopted and shared by individuals and celebrities across India to mark the 50th Earth Day.
The manifesto included the following steps:
*Always think sustainable
*Think before you buy
*Read and listen to science
*Be a conscious consumer
*Recognize and reduce your carbon footprint
*Be a zero-waste family
*Educate students about sustainability
*Join a climate strike
*Make eco-friendly choices
*Go slow with dairy
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; Indeed it is the only thing that ever has,” Margaret Mead, American Cultural Anthropologist, had once said.
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