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UN Environment Executive Director Appreciates India’s Innovation To Tackle Pollution

"Policy innovation is important as well, and we have seen India excel here, not least with a major announcement to ban single-use plastics by 2022,"

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Plastic
Every technological, scientific social and policy innovation is a welcome addition to domestic and global efforts to beat plastic pollution." Pixabay

It’s encouraging to see innovation — a key to tackling pollution — coming from all corners, especially developing countries like India, UN Environment acting Executive Director Joyce Msuya has said.

This is innovation in many forms, not just gleaming new technology like electric vehicles. Social innovation is important, like citizen-led movements to clean up pollution such as that led by Afroz Shah, who is engaged in one of the world’s largest beach cleaning operations in Mumbai.

“Policy innovation is important as well, and we have seen India excel here, not least with a major announcement to ban single-use plastics by 2022,” Msuya told IANS in an interview in run-up to the Fourth UN Environment Assembly here March 11-15.

Negotiations at the annual assembly are expected to tackle critical issues such as stopping food waste, promoting the decarbonisation of economies, tackling the crisis of plastic pollution in oceans, among many other pressing challenges.

plastic
Praising India’s commitment to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022, the UN Environment acting chief said: “India’s announcement that it will eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022 is a tremendous move by the government.” Pixabay

Msuya, a Tanzanian microbiologist and environmental scientist, believes everyone can contribute to solutions to pollution.

Policy directions from the government, like India’s single-use plastic ban, help set the tone for businesses and encourages them to develop sustainable solutions, she said.

At the same time, upward pressure from individuals changing their habits and civil society campaigns force businesses to provide the non-polluting products that consumers demand.

Praising India’s commitment to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022, the UN Environment acting chief said: “India’s announcement that it will eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022 is a tremendous move by the government.”

“This unprecedented action will reduce plastic waste from 1.3 billion people in the fastest growing economy in the world. India is setting the bar high with this bold announcement.”

On World Environment Day on June 6, 2018, India pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic items like carry bags, straws and water bottles by 2022, the year coinciding with 75 years of the country’s independence.

The annual average per capita consumption of plastic in India is at 11 kg as against global average of 28 kg.

Single-use plastic ban and improving recycling technology are simply two tools in the same toolbox.

“There is no one answer to environmental challenges like this, and we need a comprehensive approach. For example, the UN Environment recently announced a project with Japan that will identify sources of plastic pollution in the Ganga river.

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This is innovation in many forms, not just gleaming new technology like electric vehicles. VOA

“This is the first time such a survey will have ever been done, and the knowledge we gain will help us better understand the problem. We need to be working across all areas. Every technological, scientific social and policy innovation is a welcome addition to domestic and global efforts to beat plastic pollution,” an optimistic Msuya said.

On smog becoming an annual affair in New Delhi every winter, she said Indian cities, like a number of others around the world, are suffering from poor air quality.

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“This is a global public health emergency. Living in cities should not mean living fewer years, or losing cognitive capabilities, or reducing the quality of life of our children,” said Msuya, who has visited and lived in cities chafing under the dark clouds of haze and smog.

For her, there is no magic fix. A range of actions must be taken by individuals, city authorities and governments, and these should be based on science. (IANS)

Next Story

Asia Poised to Become a Dominant Market for Wind Energy: IRENA Report

According to the "Future of Wind" published at China Wind Power in Beijing, global wind power could rise ten-fold reaching over 6,000 GW by 2050

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Wind Energy
Low-cost renewable energy technologies like Wind Energy are readily-available today, representing the most effective and immediate solution for reducing carbon emissions. Pixabay

Asia could grow its share of installed capacity for onshore wind energy from 230 Gigawatt (GW) in 2018 to over 2,600 GW by 2050, a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said on Monday.

By that time, the region would become a global leader in wind, accounting for more than 50 per cent of all onshore and over 60 per cent of all offshore wind capacity installed globally.

China would take the lead with 2,525 GW of installed onshore and offshore wind capacity by 2050 within Asia, followed by India (443 GW), Korea (78 GW) and South-East Asia (16 GW).

According to the “Future of Wind” published at China Wind Power in Beijing, global wind power could rise ten-fold reaching over 6,000 GW by 2050.

By mid-century, wind could cover one-third of global power needs and — combined with electrification — deliver a quarter of the energy-related carbon emission reductions needed to meet the Paris climate targets.

To reach this objective, onshore and offshore wind capacity will need to increase four-fold and ten-fold respectively every year compared to today.

“With renewables, it’s possible to achieve a climate-safe future,” said IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera.

“Low-cost renewable energy technologies like wind power are readily-available today, representing the most effective and immediate solution for reducing carbon emissions.

Wind Energy
With renewable Wind Energy, its possible to achieve a climate-safe future. Pixabay

“Our roadmap for a global energy transformation to 2050 shows that it is technically and economically feasible to ensure a climate-safe, sustainable energy future. Unlocking global wind energy potential will be particularly important. In fact, wind energy could be the largest single source of power generation by mid-century under this path. This would not only enable us to meet climate goals, but it would also boost economic growth and create jobs, thereby accelerating sustainable development,” added Camera.

The global wind industry could become a veritable job motor, employing over 3.7 million people by 2030 and more than six million people by 2050, IRENA’s report finds.

These figures are respectively nearly three times higher and five times higher than the slightly over one million jobs in 2018.

Sound industrial and labour policies that build upon and strengthen domestic supply chains can enable income and employment growth by leveraging existing economic activities in support of wind industry development.

But to accelerate the growth of global wind power over the coming decades, scaling up investments will be key.

On average, global annual investment in onshore wind must increase from today $67 billion to $211 billion in 2050.

Wind Energy
To accelerate the growth of global Wind Energy over the coming decades, scaling up investments will be key. Pixabay

For offshore wind, global average annual investments would need to increase from $19 billion to $100 billion in 2050.

Asia would account for more than 50 per cent of global onshore wind power installations by 2050, followed by North America (23 per cent) and Europe (10 per cent).

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For offshore, Asia would cover more than 60 per cent of global installations, followed by Europe (22 per cent) and North America (16 per cent). (IANS)