Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar exhorted industries and society to adopt the ‘3Rs’ of ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ on World Environment Day on Friday and urged all to opt for “less” in order to check the rate of depletion of natural resources.
“Business as usual is no longer an option. Every individual has a responsibility to contribute to protect the environment and reduce the rate of depletion of natural resources,” the minister said.
In his message for World Environment Day with the theme of ’Seven Billion Dreams, One Planet, Consume with Care’, he called for a change in consumption patterns as he urged that the approach now should be to opt for ‘less’.
“We should opt for less of water, less of energy and less of all other resources. By becoming more conscious of the ecological impact of our actions and environmental consequences of the personal choices we make, we can become agents of change,” he said.
While less than 3 per cent of the water in the world is potable, one out of seven persons does not have access to drinkable water, the minister said.
Also, talking about dietary choices and habits impacting on the environment, he said that 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year even as almost 1 billion people worldwide are undernourished and another 1 billion go hungry.
“The food sector accounts for around 30 per cent of the world’s total energy consumption and approximately 22 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
He said that by the year 2050, with an expected population of 9.6 billion, it is estimated that three planets would be needed to sustain the ways of living and consumption on earth.
He said that changes in natural resource base due to human activities have taken place more rapidly in the past 50 years than at any time in human history, leading to continued deterioration of the environment.
“Many of the earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points of depletion, or irreversible change.
“By 2050, with the current consumption and production patterns and with a rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, it is estimated that we would need three planets to sustain our ways of living and consumption,” Mr. Javadekar said.
The Environment Minister said that unsustainable patterns of consumption are one of the major causes of increasing environmental deterioration.
“We need to be much more frugal in the way we use natural resources while also recognising that, for us, inclusive growth and a rapid increase in per capita income levels are developmental imperatives,” added Mr. Javadekar.
Talking about the challenges of production and consumption of environment-friendly goods, Mr. Javadekar said the critical issue for producers was the availability of green raw materials and technology as there are is low level of research and development in this area.
“High cost of production of green goods is another challenge since the inputs (raw material and technology) invariably cost higher than the ones used for non-green variants,” he said.