World Environment Day 2024

World Environment Day 2024

World Environment Day 2024

Source: TH

Why in News?

World Environment Day is celebrated on 5th June every year to encourage awareness and environmental protection.

  • In a remarkable initiative to combat deforestation and restore biodiversity, two environmentalists have spearheaded the creation of India’s first biospheres within tiger reserves.

India’s First Biosphere in a Tiger Reserve

  • Recently two environmentalists, Jai Dhar Gupta and Vijay Dhasmana created India’s first biosphere in a tiger reserve, called the Rajaji Raghati Biosphere (RRB) within the Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand.
  • The biosphere is a 35-acre private forest initiative aimed at identifying and reviving rare and endangered species of native trees while protecting the area from poachers and mining.
  • The land earmarked for RRB was previously barren and in a state of degradation.
  • They are also developing a second biosphere above the Koyna River in the buffer zone of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve near Pune, Maharashtra, along the Western Ghats.

What are the Key Facts About World Environment Day?

  • About:
    • The United Nations Assembly established World Environment Day in 1972, which was the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the human environment.
    • World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated every year with a specific theme and slogan that focuses on the major environmental issues of that time.
      • WED 2024 is hosted by Saudi Arabia.
      • India hosted the 45th celebration of World Environment Day in 2018 under the theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.
    • WED celebration in 2021 kicked off the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) which is a global mission to revive billions of hectares, from forests to farmlands, from the top of mountains to the depth of the seas.
  • The theme for 2024:
    • Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience
    • Year 2024 also marks the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
    • Significance of Land Restoration:
      • Reverses Environmental Damage: Combats land degradation, drought, and desertification.
      • High Return on Investment: Each dollar invested can yield up to USD 30 in benefits from healthy ecosystems.
      • Boosts Communities: Creates jobs, reduces poverty, and improves livelihoods.
      • Strengthens Resilience: Helps communities better withstand extreme weather events.
      • Combats Climate Change: Increases carbon storage in soil and slows the pace of warming.
      • Protects Biodiversity: Restoring just 15% of degraded land could prevent a significant portion of expected species extinction.

What is India’s Contribution Towards Environmental Sustainability?

  • Mission LiFE
  • National Mission for Green India (GIM): It aims to increase forest/tree cover on 5 million hectares of land and improve the quality of forest/tree cover on another 5 million hectares.
  • National Afforestation Programme (NAP): Under this, 21.47 million hectares of land have been afforested as of 2020.
  • National Biodiversity Action Plan
  • Nagar Van Yojana (Urban Forest Scheme): It focuses on developing mini urban forests or “Nagar Vans” within cities and towns.
  • School Nursery Yojana: It encourages schools to develop their own nurseries.
  • CAMPA Funds: The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) has been established to promote afforestation and regeneration activities etc.
    • These programs promote tree plantation on waste, vacant, and barren lands.
  • Wetland Conservation:
    • India expanded its Ramsar Site count to 80 in January 2024 by designating new sites in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
      • 11 wetlands were added in August 2022 to commemorate India’s 75th Independence anniversary.
    • The Wetlands of India Portal serves as a knowledge hub for wetland managers and stakeholders, providing valuable information and resources.
  • Forest and Wildlife Conservation:
    • India ranks third globally in net forest area gain over the past 15 years.
    • The Forest Cover of India is 7,13,789 sq. km, which is 21.71% of the total geographical area of the country, as per the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021.
    • India celebrated 50 years of Project Tiger and 30 years of Project Elephant, demonstrating its commitment to species conservation.
    • The ‘Green Credit Program’ has been introduced to incentivize tree plantation and restoration of degraded forest lands, contributing to climate action initiatives.
  • Mangrove Restoration:
  • Ban on Single-use Plastic:
    • The Government has introduced amendments to the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, through the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2024.
    • The rules prohibit the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of identified single-use plastic (SUP).
  • Push to Renewable Energy:
    • The National Green Hydrogen Mission was launched in January 2023 with a Rs 19,744 crore investment, will be a game-changer for India’s clean energy future.
    • The mission aims to make India a self-reliant (Aatma Nirbhar) leader in green hydrogen production and technology.
    • This green push will significantly reduce dependence on fossil fuels, decarbonize the economy, and inspire a global clean energy transition.
  • Global Initiatives of India:
    • India is a member of the Global Alliance for Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (GACERE) and the Steering Committee of the International Resource Panel (IRP).
      • These platforms advocate for a global and just circular economy transition and sustainable natural resource management.
    • The sixth Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) was hosted in New Delhi on 31st October 2023, with participation from ministers and delegates from 116 Member and Signatory countries.

Report of Ministry of Coal on Environment Day

  • Coal and Lignite PSUs under the Ministry of Coal are implementing measures to reclaim mined-out areas through extensive plantation efforts in and around coal-bearing regions.
  • The Ministry of Coal has released a report titled “Greening Initiative in Coal & Lignite PSUs” highlighting the efforts of PSUs in restoring and rejuvenating mined-out lands.
    • The report underscores the significant role that the coal sector can play in advancing the goals of land restoration and promoting environmental sustainability.
    • Coal/Lignite PSUs have created a green cover of about 50,000 hectares in and around coal mining regions. This includes reclaiming de-coaled land, and planting trees within mine leaseholds, and outside leaseholds, which is estimated to create a carbon sink potential of around 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.
    • The initiative aims to boost India’s green cover to support achieving the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target of creating a carbon sink of 2.5 to 3.0 billion tonnes by 2030.

Drishti Mains Question:

Explain India’s challenges and opportunities in land restoration. Suggest policy measures to achieve UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration goals.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q. The term ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of (2016)

(a) pledges made by the European countries to rehabilitate refugees from the war-affected Middle East

(b) plan of action outlined by the countries of the world to combat climate change

(c) capital contributed by the member countries in the establishment of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

(d) plan of action outlined by the countries of the world regarding Sustainable Development Goals

Ans: (b)

Q. Consider the following statements: (2016)

  1. The Sustainable Development Goals were first proposed in 1972 by a global think tank called the ‘Club of Rome’.
  2. The Sustainable Development Goals have to be achieved by 2030.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)


Q. Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference? (2021)

Q. Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is the sine qua non to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” Comment on the progress made in India in this regard. (2018)

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