Global Environment Day

India. Mumbai. Beat Plastic Pollution

Last week the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim, environmental activist Afroz Shah and journalist Bahar Dutt, took many good questions from the audience at UN office`s twitter meeting. Afroz stated that we need to move beyond writing about the environmental challenges on social media and put words into action. Mr. Solheim also met with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to New Delhi.

The 19 February 2018, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and Mr. Solheim, jointly announced that India will be hosting the global World Environment Day 5 June 2018. India was selected due to being such a significant and important country (The Indian Express; Feb 22) also being a country which will lead by example.

A group of volunteers in Mumbai has already shown the world the `lead by example` approach. Thousands of students in all age groups, volunteers from public and private sector are participating on the weekly clean-up at Versova. The Consulate General have participated in Afroz`s initiative since 2016, and Mr. Solheim went to the beach in 2015 giving a hand to the team. Mr. Solheim emphasizes on the efforts Afroz has done leading the focus globally on ocean health and the issues of plastic littering. Afroz received the UN Environment top award “Champion of the Earth” for the movement, now stretching far beyond hands on beach cleaning. Beach Cleaning is a part of the big Ocean Saving project and we see initiatives across the world. The Nordic Beach Cleaning week is the first week of May 2018. This is the 8th year in a row.

Beach cleaning is one part in a large Clean Ocean movement where the litter on the beaches is a bi-product. From 2018 the Nordics will work together with support from the Nordic Council of Ministers and in cooperation with Afroz`s local movement with a mindset change project. There has been interest of Norway’s sustainable solutions such as the recycling of plastic bottles and water treatment. Norway releases the updated India strategy this year and the consulate general looks forward to the continuous collaboration.