INDIA. Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday addressed the World Environment Day event, jointly organized by the Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, through a video conference. The theme for this year’s event is “promotion of biofuels for a better environment”.
Speaking on the occasion, he said that India has taken another leap by releasing a detailed roadmap for the development of the ethanol sector on the occasion of World Environment Day. He said that ethanol has become one of the major priorities of 21 st century India since it is having a better impact on the environment as well as on the lives of farmers. The Government has resolved to meet the target of 20 percent ethanol blending in petrol by 2025. Earlier the resolve was to achieve the target by 2030 which is now preponed by 5 years. Till 2014, on average, only 1.5 percent of ethanol could be blended in India. Now it has reached about 8.5 percent. In 2013-14, about 38 crore litres of ethanol were purchased in the country, now it has grown over 320 crore litres. A large part of this eightfold increase in ethanol procurement has benefitted the sugarcane farmers of the country.
He remarked that the 21 st century India can get energy only from modern policies. A lot of emphases is being laid on building the necessary infrastructure for the production and purchase of ethanol. Most of the ethanol manufacturing units are concentrated in 4-5 states where sugar production is high but now Food Grain Based Distilleries are being established to expand this to the whole country. Modern technology-based plants are also being set up in the country to make ethanol from agricultural waste.
On the occasion, Modi released the “Report of the Expert Committee on Road Map for ethanol blending in India 2020-2025”. He also launched the ambitious E-100 pilot project in Pune in Maharashtra for the production and distribution of ethanol across the country. During the event, the PM interacted with a farmer from Pune who shared his experience of organic farming and the use of biofuel in agriculture. Union Cabinet Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Narendra Singh Tomar, Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal, and Dharmendra Pradhan also participated in the program.
He said that India is a strong proponent of climate justice and is moving ahead with a lofty global vision like the founding of the International Solar Alliance for realizing the vision of One Sun, One World, One Grid, and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure initiative. He noted India has been included in the top 10 countries of the world in the Climate Change Performance Index.
He spoke about the hard and soft approaches taken to fight climate change. On the hard approach, he noted that our capacity for renewable energy has increased by more than 250 percent in the last 6-7 years. India is today among the top 5 countries of the world in terms of installed renewable energy capacity. Especially the capacity of solar energy has increased by about 15 times in the last 6 years.
Modi said that the country has also taken historic steps with a soft approach, today the common man of the country has joined and led the Pro-Environment Campaign like avoiding single-use plastic, beach cleaning, or Swachh Bharat. He added that the impact of giving more than 37 crores LED bulbs and more than 23 lakh energy-efficient fans are not discussed often. Similarly, by providing free gas connections under the Ujjwala scheme, by providing electricity connections under the Saubhagya scheme, to crores of poor, their dependence on wood has greatly reduced. Apart from reducing pollution, it has also helped a lot in improving health and strengthening environmental protection.
He said India is setting an example to the world that it is not necessary to stop development for protecting the environment. He stressed that economy and ecology both can go together and move forward. And this is the path India has chosen. He said along with strengthening the economy, our forests have also increased by 15 thousand square kilometers in the last few years. The number of Tigers in our country has doubled and the number of leopards has also increased by about 60 percent in the last few years.
Modi said clean and efficient energy systems, resilient urban infrastructure, and planned eco-restoration are a very important part of the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Campaign. He said due to all the efforts taken related to the environment, new investment opportunities are being created in the country, lakhs of youth are also getting employment. India is working with a holistic approach through the National Clean Air Plan to curb air pollution. He said the work on waterways and multimodal connectivity will not only strengthen the mission of green transport but also improve the logistics efficiency of the country. Today, the service of metro rail in the country has increased from 5 cities to 18 cities which have helped in reducing the use of personal vehicles.
The Prime Minister said that today, a large part of the country’s railway network has been electrified. Airports of the country are also made to use electricity from solar energy at a rapid pace. He elaborated that before 2014, only 7 airports had a solar power facility, whereas today this number has increased to more than 50. Over 80 airports have been installed with LED lights which would improve energy efficiency.
Modi spoke about a project which is underway to develop Kevadiya (in Gujarat) as an electric vehicle city. The necessary infrastructure is being made available so that only battery-based buses, two-wheelers, four-wheelers will run in Kevadiya in the future. He said the water cycle is also directly related to climate change and imbalance in the water cycle will directly affect water security. He stated that the work is being done with a holistic approach from creation and conservation to the use of water resources in the country through Jal Jeevan Mission. On one hand, every household is being connected with pipes, on the other hand, the focus is on raising the groundwater level through campaigns like Atal Bhujal Yojana and Catch the Rain.
The Prime Minister announced that the government has identified 11 sectors that can make good use of resources by recycling them through modern technology. He said a lot of work has been done in the last few years on the “Kachra to Kanchan” campaign and now it is being taken forward very fast in mission mode.
While World Environment Day was observed across the country, the Naval Community of the Western Naval Command planted over 250 saplings in the residential areas. This initiative was undertaken to replace the trees that were uprooted during the Cyclone ‘Tauktae’ and also to augment the existing green cover. The residents including ladies and children wholeheartedly participated in the tree plantation drive.
Besides, in keeping with the Government’s Swachchata Abhiyaan, the Naval residential area in Mumbai commenced large-scale composting of wet waste. The composting has commenced simultaneously as pilot projects in Navy Nagar and other Naval residential pockets in Colaba in South Mumbai. The Navy Nagar pilot project was started with bioculture and guidance and consultation with BARC, with a modest quantity of 70 Kgs of wet waste in April this year. After the success of the pilot project, currently, 1500 Kgs of wet waste is being processed and converted into compost every day through in-house efforts. The composting capacity is being steadily increased to 4000 Kgs with the participation of all residents to finally achieve the goal of zero waste generation from Naval Residential Areas zero waste generating, Defence PRO Commander Mehul Karnik stated.