Crowds cheer on as orange halo lights go off at India Gate; monuments, govt. buildings switch off at 8-30 p.m.

Delhi joined many cities across the globe to observe Earth Hour on Saturday with its important monuments such as India Gate, Qutab Minar and Humayun’s Tomb along with government buildings switching off lights at 8-30 p.m. for an hour. Several markets, residential areas and hotels too opted to stand up for asserting their commitment to preserving the environment by switching off lights.

“The world is facing some of its most critical environmental challenges today and we all need to contribute as individuals. Every single responsible action to preserve the environment will add up to making a difference collectively,” said Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on the occasion.

At India Gate, despite a partly cloudy sky, Delhiites cheered on when the orange halo lights were switched off to mark the occasion.

“Delhi along with several other cities across the world is a partner State for the Earth Hour 2013. Earth Hour, started in 2007, and people around the world express their commitment to the planet by switching off their lights for an hour. India observed its first Earth Hour in 2009 with people in 56 cities switching off lights,” said a member of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which had initiated this world-wide campaign.

“Our initiative is aimed at making a symbolic gesture and helping people come together to take collective responsibility and to be accountable for their ecological footprint. This is also a call to stand up against climate change,” he added.

“By this simple act of switching off for an hour and participating in the Earth Hour we stand hand-in-hand with millions of people worldwide who are participating in this campaign for an hour. It is a great experience to unite with people across borders and make a statement to stand up for saving our planet,” said Mr. Sunny Thomas, a Pandara Road resident, who participated in the Earth Hour campaign in the area. The residents here switched off their lights to gather for a candle-lit hour in the area park.

This is not the first time that the city is participating in Earth Hour. Last year we had managed to save 295 MW of electricity by switching off for an hour. This year too, Delhiites have managed to save 219 MW of power by switching off their non-essential electricity for an hour. Power distribution companies had on Friday appealed to their customers to support the event. On account of Earth House, power load reduced by 99 MW in the BRPL area, 70 MW in the BYPL area and 50 MW in the NDPL area.

Meanwhile, State environment secretary Sanjiv Kumar had written letters to educational institutions, residents’ welfare associations, market and trader associations asking them to switch off in support of Earth Hour.

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