Earth Day is celebrated worldwide as an annual event to focus on the need to protect our earth. The moniker Earth Day chosen in 1970 was the choice of few creative Americans rooting for environment protection in the face of rising concerns on environmental degradation. Celebrated for the first time in 1970, Earth Day is now feted in 193 countries.
The first Earth Day celebrations took place in schools, colleges, universities and concerned communities of USA with 20 million Americans out in support of environmental reform. Coordinated globally now by the Earth Day Network, events are undertaken to demonstrate support for environmental protection by countries joining in on issues of concern.
Earth Day 2000 was charged by the fiery spirit of the first Earth Day, gaining international grassroots momentum of Earth Day 1990. This was the first time that Earth Day used the Internet as an important tool, lending invaluable national and international support to provide worldwide focus for recycling efforts. Again Earth Day 2007 was a huge affair, the largest to date. Many thousands of people from all corners of the globe participated in activities from places like Kiev, Ukraine, Caracas, Venezuela, Tuvalu, Manila, Togo, Madrid, London and New York!
2012 Earth Day highlighted human overpopulation as the main concern. And last year Earth Day 2016 worked for the landmark Paris Agreement signed by United States, China and some 120 other countries. This year Earth Day 2017 has March for Science as its theme for Earth Day events. Earth Day Network outlines four toolkits to aid organizations wanting to hold teach-ins to celebrate the theme “Environmental and Climate Literacy” that are:
- Earth Day Action Toolkit: Educating and Activating Communities for Change
- Environmental Teach-in Toolkit
- Global Day of Conversation Toolkit for Local Governments
- MobilizeU: Campus Teach-in Toolkit
Coming to our country, India, the most formidable environmental challenge is to tackle the menace of plastic waste garbage. All kind of plastic waste gets illegally burnt at dumpsites causing air pollution and smog. The plastic that is not burnt finds its way out into the oceans. Reports state that approximately 60 percent of plastic found in the ocean originates from India!
Earth Day April 22, 2017 should be a perfect point in time for us to work through scientific ways to dispose of plastic waste in order to preserve and protect our environment. The total plastic waste collected and recycled in our country is estimated to be 9,205 tons every day and 6,137 tons remain uncollected and littered!!!
In April 2013 the Supreme Court cautioned the Central Pollution Control Board, stating “We are sitting on a plastic time bomb”. Our metros generate humongous amounts of waste and the usual practice is to dump it all outside city limits affecting the poor rural folks.
Jacques de Lannoy, a Tokyo-based photographer recently traveled to India to document the issue of plastic pollution that is so rampant. Lannoy clicked shocking images of piles of plastic garbage swallowing our landscape, waterways and coastlines! Check this link to see it for yourself. http://abcnews.go.com/International/photographer-captures-plastic-pollution-nightmare-india-ahead-earth/story?id=46884654