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UPSC Sansad TV: Earth Day 2024- Planet Vs Plastics

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Introduction:

The Earth’s surface temperature has increased by 1.0 deg Celsius since the 1800s. This increase has largely been attributed to greenhouse gas emissions on account of human activity. The World Meteorological Organisation’s latest report highlights record-breaking rise in global temperatures, ocean heat levels, and unprecedented rise in sea level during 2023. This emphasizes the urgent need to protect our environment for future generations. April 22nd is annually observed as International Earth Day across the world. Various events are held to raise awareness and inspire action on environmental issues.

  • The year 2024 marks the 54th anniversary of the annual celebrations.
  • This year, the theme is ‘Planet vs. Plastics’. The theme highlights the threat plastics pose to the planet and human health. It calls for an end to all plastic waste by demanding a 60% reduction in the production of plastics by the year 2040.
  • Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable

History of Earth Day:

  • Earth Day was a unified response to an environment in crisis — oil spills, smog, rivers so polluted they literally caught fire.
  • On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet.
  • The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event

Why do we need earth hour?

  • Global warming and climate change have dominated the scientific discourse in the past more than one decade. With ever rising population of the world, the climate change has put the humankind at a great risk along with other species.
  • Global warming, rising levels of pollution due to ever increasing industrialisation, declining forest cover and rising sea levels are some of the dangers that drastically affect the workings of life on the earth.
  • Though the largest polluters are big industries, the WWF tries to make the masses more and more aware about the impending dangers of adverse climate so that they could put pressure on the respective governments to frame environment-friendly policies and laws.
  • With Earth Hour, the WWF aims to engage people across the globe to adopt more sustainable lifestyle. Turning off lights for an hour is just an annual reminder that if the world does not mend its ways, it will be heading to a dark age, literally.

Result of the first Earth Day:

  • The first Earth Day in 1970 launched a wave of action, including the passage of landmark environmental laws in the United States.
  • The Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts were created in response to the first Earth Day in 1970, as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many countries soon adopted similar laws.
  • Earth Day continues to hold major international significance: In 2016, the United Nations chose Earth Day as the day when the historic Paris Agreement on climate change was signed into force.

Significance:

  • It is celebrated to remind each of us that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance.
  • This Day also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.
  • This day provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world to the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports.

Policy changes to keep up with:

  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC):
    • It was initiated primarily in response to developments at the international level, the eight missions focus on India’s domestic development needs.
  • Ratifying Paris Agreement
    • The 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) successfully concluded in Paris after intense negotiations by the Parties followed by the adoption of the Paris Agreement on post-2020 actions on climate change. India ratified the same and is actively working towards the goals.
  • Tackling Climate Change:
  • Clean Fuel
    • India introduces BS-VI petrol and diesel.
  • No Plastics:
    • India has pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022.
  • National Bio-fuel policy
  • National offshore wind-energy policy
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA):
    • ISA is a group of 121 solar rich countries which are situated either on or between the tropics. Aims to deploy over 1000 GW of solar energy and mobilize more than $1000 billion into solar power by 2030.
  • The Clean Development Mechanism projects in India
    • Indian projects have been issued a huge number of Renewable Energy Certificates in lieu of their green deeds.
  • State Action Plans on Climate Change:
    • The State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC) aim to create institutional capacities and implement sectoral activities to address climate change. These plans are focused on adaptation with mitigation as co-benefit in sectors such as water, agriculture, tourism, forestry, transport, habitat and energy.
  • Coal Cess and the National Clean Energy Fund
    • India is one of the few countries around the world to have a carbon tax in the form of a cess on coal. Not only has India imposed such a cess but it has also been progressively increasing it.
  • FAME Scheme for E-mobility:
    • Union Government in April 2015 launched Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) – India Scheme with an aim to boost sales of eco-friendly vehicles in the country. It is a part of the National Mission for Electric Mobility.
  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for Smart Cities.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
    • The scheme provides LPG connections to five crore below-poverty-line beneficiaries. The connections are given in the name of women beneficiaries to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and conventional fuel like cow dung for cooking food, thus reducing air pollution.
  • UJALA scheme:
    • The scheme was launched in January 2015 with a target of replacing 77 crore incandescent lamps with LED bulbs. The usage of LED bulbs will not only result in reducing electricity bills but also help in environment protection.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission:
    • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Movement) is a campaign that was launched by Prime Minister on October 2, 2014. The campaign seeks to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country’s 4041 statutory cities and towns.
  • National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change
    • A National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) has been established with a budget provision of 350 crores

 

SSANSAD TV 23-4-24