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Environment and Days
 
  2nd February, World Wetlands Day  
  It marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The Ramsar convention define wetlands as, ”areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing , fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters”. Each year since 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular. For more details refer to http://www.ramsar.org/wwd/wwd_index.htm

Some important wetlands of India are, Kolleru in Andhra Pardesh, Wullar in Jammu & Kashmir, Chilka in Orissa, Loktak in Manipur, Bhoj in Madhya Pardesh, Keoladeo National park (Bharatpur), Sambar and Pichola in Rajasthan, Asthamudir in Kerala, Harieke and Kanjli in Punjab, Ujni in Maharashtra, Sukhna in Chandigarh, Renuka in Himachal Pardesh, Kabar in Bihar and Nalsarovar in Gujarat. Of these the wetlands if international importance and covered under Ramsar Convention are, Keoladeo National park, Chilka, Harike, Wullar, Sambar and Bhoj.

Theme 2008- The Convention's suggested theme for World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2008, is “Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People”
 
  21st March, World Forestry Day  
  World Forestry Day is celebrated around the world on 21 March, the day of the autumn equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. This day commemorates the contribution and value of forests and forestry to the community. The concept of having a World Forestry Day originated at the 23rd General Assembly of the European Confederation of Agriculture in 1971. Later that year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization gave support to the idea believing the event would contribute a great deal to public awareness of the importance of forests. There is no theme as such, the celebration are to offer information about the three key facets of forestry namely protection, production and recreation.

In India, the National Forest Policy 1988 aims to achieve 33% of the geographical area under forest cover by actively involving people in programs of protection, conservation and management of the forests.

TEN WELLS ARE EQUAL TO ONE TANK; TEN TANKS ARE EQUAL TO ONE LAKE; TEN LAKES ARE EQUAL TO ONE SON; TEN SONS ARE EQUAL TO ONE TREE - Upnishad
 
  22nd March, World Water Day  
  The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March of each year as the World Day for Water by adopting a resolution. This world day for water was to be observed starting in 1993, in conformity with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development contained in chapter 18 (Fresh Water Resources) of Agenda 21. For more details refer to http://www.worldwaterday.org

As per a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report, the world is likely to encounter a serious water crisis by the year 2050. The report says while demand increases, the annual available fresh water supply per inhabitant is regularly decreasing and is expected to fall to an average of 4800 cubic meters by the year 2025, against 7300 cubic meter in 1995.

Theme 2008: The UN Water group has decided the WWD theme 2008 will be "sanitation".
 
 

22 April, World Earth Day

 
  Responding to widespread environmental degradation, Gaylord Nelson, a United States Senator from Wisconsin, called for an environmental teach-in, or Earth Day, to be held on April 22, 1970. Over 20 million people participated that year, and Earth Day is now observed each year on April 22 by more than 500 million people and national governments in 175 countries.

The celebrations are coordinated by Earth Day International a NGO in USA. The theme of the day has been illustrated through a pledge that is taken on the occasion and is called “Earth Pledge” that reads as “Recognizing that people’s actions towards nature and each other are the source of growing damage to the environment and resources needed to meet human needs and to ensure survival and development. I PLEDGE to act to the best of my ability to help make the Earth a secure and hospitable home for present and future generations.”

The United Nations Conference For Environment & Development (UNCED) also takes active part. The day is celebrated as an international event reflecting that all major environmental threats are global in scope. Fore details refer to http://www.earthday.net
 
  22 May, International Day for Biological Diversity  
  Biodiversity Day had since 1994 been observed on December 29th. But in December 2000 it was agreed that, from the year 2001, the Day would be observed on 22nd May. This marks the date of adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Convention has three main objectives: (1) The conservation of biological diversity, (2) Th sustainable use of the resources of the natural environment and (3) The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. For more details refer to http://www.cbd.int

Bio-diversity refers to the total variety of life on earth and include micro organisms, plants and animals. India is a rich country in terms of biodiversity. This is the result of our varied climates ranging from tropical to sub-tropical, temperature and extreme cold, allied to varied terrain’s and rainfall patterns. The land mass of 329 million hectares of the country and its water bodies sustain an extremely rich variety of plants and animal contributing to the rich biological diversity of the country. In the last few decades, however, India has been facing a serious problem of loss of biodiversity. Population growth, poverty and a development path which involves intensive exploitation of our natural resource base have all contributed to the loss of biological diversity.

India has so far enlisted 55,000 plant species and 81,000 animal species. At present a network of 14 biosphere’s, 83 National Parts, 23 Tiger reserves, 447 Sanctuaries that cover 4.6% of total geographical area has been established to conserve the rich biodiversity in the country. The extinction of a species is a part of evolution, but the normal rate of extinction is one species in a period of 60-70 years which has gone as high as one species per day. Let us therefore join hands to protect and conserve what is left.
 
  5th June, World Environment Day  
  The 5th of June is celebrated the world over as the World Environment Day. On this day in 1972 began the historic United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. The conference resulted in the formation of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). It is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action. Fore details refer to http://www.unep.org

The World Environment Day slogan selected for 2007 is Melting Ice – a Hot Topic? In support of International Polar Year, the WED theme selected for 2007 focuses on the effects that climate change is having on polar ecosystems and communities, and the ensuing consequences around the world.

India was also a participating country in Stockholm Conference. The conference was attended by the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi and India for the first time committed to lend political support for the policies and measures on environmental protection. The 42nd Amendment to the Constitution of India there after incorporated the Article 51A that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve natural environment and Article 48A that it shall be the duty of the state to protect and improve the environment and safeguard the forests and wildlife.
 
  11th July, World Population Day  
  World Population Day is an annual event, observed on July 11, which seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989. It was inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day on July 11, 1987, approximately the date on which the world's population reached five billion people. The world population on the 20th anniversary of Five Billion Day, July 11, 2007, was estimated to have been 6,602,226,175 and by the year 2050, the United Nations projects that the world's population will be between 7.8 and 10.5 billion. Ninety-nine percent of that growth will occur in developing countries where two in three people lack access to clean drinking water. Slowing population growth and addressing the over consumption and inequitable distribution of natural resources, is key to long-term environmental protection For more details refer to http://www.unfpa.org/wpd  
  16th September, International Day for Preservation of Ozone Layer  
  On 19 December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 16 September the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date, in 1987, on which the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed. The Montreal Protocol has been hailed as perhaps the most successful international treaty to date and provides a message of hope for working cooperatively to solve major environmental problems.

The theme of International Ozone Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer 2007 is, ‘Celebrating 20 Years of Progress’. The city of Montreal, Canada, where the Protocol was first signed, will host the 20th anniversary of this multilateral environmental agreement. For more details refer to http://www.unep.fr/ozonaction/events/ozoneday.

Near the earth’s surface, ozone is a dangerous pollutant, but high in the atmosphere (stratosphere) it is as important to life as oxygen itself. The ozone layer acts as a filter and screens out the harmful ultraviolet radiation released by the sun. In 1985, a hole was detected in the ozone layer and now it is an established that each year the ozone layer has been thinner. A variety of man made and natural emissions have proven to be damaging to the ozone layer as chlorofluorocarbons, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, halon etc. that are used in refrigeration, solvents, sprays, fire extinguishers etc.

As depletion of ozone layer and accompanying increase in UV radiation pose a host of human health problems including skin cancer, strong laws have been passed to restrict the use of ozone depleting substances (ODS). The Vienna Convention in 1985, Montreal Protocol in 1987, Helsinki Declaration in 1989 are some important international events that were responsible for imposing restrictions in use of ODS.
 
  2nd December, National Pollution Prevention Day  
  The National Pollution Prevention day is observed to pay tribute to the memory of thousands of persons who have lost their lives in the Bhopal gas disaster which occurred on the night of 2nd /3rd December 1984. It is perhaps the greatest industrial pollution tragedy in the history of the world bringing into sharp focus the need to adopt preventive measures to obviate such disaster in the future. One of the major pre-requisites for this is the control and prevention of pollution particularly that of air, water and soil generated by industrial process, mechanized travel, energy efficiency and human negligence.

The day is celebrated to make industries aware of the need to comply with the provisions of Pollution Control Acts as, Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling Rules) 1989, Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989 etc. and need to adopt environment friendly technologies and products.
 
  3rd December, NATIONAL CONSERVATION DAY  
  The conservation of natural resources such as forests, wetlands, mangroves, coral reefs, desert and eco systems, land, soil and water conservation etc. is an important as prevention and control of pollution. In June 1992, the Ministry of Environment & Forests came out with a national Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment and development which deals with the priority areas and the policy frame work for sustainable development in our quest for economic; progress. It was accordingly decided to celebrate National Conservation Day on 3rd December every year to publicize the concept of sustainable development among all concerned.

The environmental problems in the country have been categorized into (I) those arising as negative effects of the very process of development, and (II) those arising from conditions of poverty and underdevelopment and to ensure the popular participation for conservation and sustainable development, the Constitutions 73rd Amendment Act of 1992 on Panchayats adds on Eleventh Schedule to the constitution that assigns the functions of soil conservation, water management, watershed development, social and farm forestry, drinking water, fuel and fodder, non conventional energy sources and maintenance of community assets to Panchayats.
 
   
 
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