NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said developing and underdeveloped countries are paying the price for the “wrong policies” of some developed nations, and asserted that India has raised the issue of climate justice with every such advanced country.
In his video message at a World Environment Day event here, Modi said for the protection of the world climate, it is important that all countries think, rising above vested interests.
“For a long time, the model of development in big and advanced countries was contradictory. In this developmental model, the thinking was that we first develop our country then we can think about the environment,” the prime minister said.
“With this, they achieved the goals of development, but the world’s environment had to pay the price for their development. Today also, the developing and underdeveloped countries of the world are paying the price for the wrong policies of some developed countries,” he said.
For decades, no one was there to object to this attitude of some developed countries, Modi said.
“I am happy that India has raised the question of climate justice with all these countries,” he said.
In the thousands of years old Indian culture, there is nature as well as progress, Modi said as he credited this to the country’s attention to ecology and economy.
The prime minister said as India is investing unprecedentedly in its infrastructure, it is focussing equally on the environment.
Talking about boosting economy and safeguarding ecology, he gave the examples of expansion of 4G and 5G connectivity on one hand and the increase in the country’s forest cover on the other.
He said while India built 4 crore houses for the poor, there has been a record increase in the number of wildlife sanctuaries as well as wildlife in India.
Modi also talked about the Jal Jeevan Mission and the construction of 50,000 ‘Amrit Sarovars’ for water security, India becoming the fifth largest economy in the world, joining the top five countries in terms of renewable energy, increasing agricultural exports, and also running a campaign for blending 20 per cent ethanol in petrol.
He also stated that India has become the base of organisations like Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure – CDRI, and the International Big Cat Alliance.
Speaking about mission LiFE — Lifestyle for Environment — becoming a public movement, the prime minister highlighted that the mission is spreading a new consciousness about lifestyle changes to combat climate change.
He said there was curiosity among the people when the mission was launched last year in Kevadia, Gujarat, but a month ago, a campaign was started regarding Mission LiFE where 2 crore people became a part of it in less than 30 days.
He also talked about the organisation of rallies and quiz competitions in the spirit of ‘Giving Life to My City’.
“Lakhs of colleagues have adopted the mantra of reduce, reuse, recycle in their everyday life,” the prime minister stated as he underlined that the basic principle of Mission LiFE is changing one’s nature to change the world.
“Mission LiFE is equally important for the bright future of the entire humanity, for our future generations,” Modi said.
This consciousness towards climate change is not limited to India only, the global support for the initiative is increasing all over the world, he said.
Modi also recalled making a request to the world community on Environment Day last year where he had asked to share innovative solutions to bring climate-friendly behavioral change in individuals and communities.
The prime minister also expressed happiness that thousands of people, including students, researchers, experts from different domains, professionals, NGOs and common citizens from around 70 countries, shared their views and solutions that are measurable and scalable. He also congratulated those who were awarded for their ideas.
Modi also said that every step taken towards Mission LiFE will become a strong shield for the environment in the times to come.
Underlining the theme of this year’s Environment Day, the campaign to get rid of single-use plastic, Modi expressed happiness that India has been working continuously in this direction for the past four to five years.
Modi said India started working on two levels to get rid of single-use plastic in 2018.
“On one hand, we have banned single-use plastic, while on the other hand, plastic waste processing has been made mandatory,” he said.
Due to this, the prime minister said there has been a compulsory recycling of about 30 lakh tonnes of plastic packaging in India which is 75 per cent of the total annual plastic waste produced in India, and around 10,000 producers, importers and brands have come under its ambit today.
He also highlighted that India of the 21st century is moving forward with a very clear roadmap for climate change and environmental protection.
Underlining that India has created a balance of present requirements and future vision, the Prime Minister stated that necessary help has been provided to the poorest of the poor while huge steps have been taken keeping in mind the energy needs of the future.
“During the last 9 years, India has made an unprecedented focus on green and clean energy,” Modi said.
The prime minister pointed out that India started Mission Green Hydrogen and took major steps towards natural farming to save soil and water from chemical fertilisers.
“In the last nine years, the number of wetlands and Ramsar sites in India has increased almost three times as compared to earlier,” he said as he informed that two more schemes have been launched Monday that further the campaign of Green Future, Green Economy.
The Amrit Dharohar Yojana’ has been started today which will ensure the conservation of these Ramsar sites through public participation, he noted.
In future, he said, these Ramsar sites will become the center of eco-tourism and will become a source of green jobs for thousands of people.
He further said the second scheme is Mishti Yojana’ which will help in reviving as well as protecting the mangrove ecosystem of the country.
With this, the prime minister said the mangrove cover will be restored in nine states and help in mitigating the threat to lives and livelihoods in coastal areas from rising sea levels and disasters like cyclones.
Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and held annually on June 5 since 1973, World Environment Day is the largest global platform for environmental public outreach.