Despite a huge human and animal population on a limited habitation area, India has been able to maintain 8 per cent of the world's biodiversity
because "our ethos is to live with nature", Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said Thursday. In a video message on the eve of the World Environment Day, Javadekar said there are many constraints for India in conserving biodiversity, like 16 per cent of world's human population and 16 per cent of cattle population living on 2.5 per cent of world's land.
"Still we have maintained biodiversity of 8 per cent of the world," he said. "India's culture is to be with the nature. We are the only country which worships trees, animals, birds everybody. We love nature. Our ethos is to live with nature," he added in his video message shared for a webinar hosted by the think-tank TERI.
The theme of World Environment Day this year is 'Biodiversity', which is described as the variety of life in a particular habitat or ecosystem, where each species has an important role to play. Upsetting this balance, including through overexploitation of the natural resources, can have enormous consequences. Experts say loss of biodiversity can lead to emergence of new infectious diseases like COVID-19.
Javadekar also said India is among the "very few countries walking the talk" on the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). "We have put good targets on our own through our NDCs about reducing emission intensity, having renewable energy component in our installed capacity to the extent of 40 per cent, 2.5-3 billion metric tonnes of carbon sequestration, sustainable lifestyle, climate change adaptation and technology, and capacity building. TERI is our partner in all these accounts. We value this partnership," he said.
The Energy and Resources Institute held the webinar as a prelude to the World Sustainable Development Summit in New Delhi, its flagship event in February next year. "As we step into the circles of new normal, it is absolutely important that climate change and biodiversity stay at the top of our sustainable development agenda. The COVID-19 crisis has forced governments and businesses to plan for 'green recoveries'. The road to economic recovery can no longer ignore climate priorities," said TERI Director General Ajay Mathur.
World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 every year. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the environment ministry will hold virtual celebrations with a focus on Nagar Van (Urban Forests).
The ministry officials said 40 acres of forest land has been developed in Pune with more than 65,000 trees and 5 ponds. Many trees have grown up to 30 feet. "This year more trees would be planted. Today, the forest is rich in biodiversity with 23 plant species, 29 bird species, 15 butterfly species, 10 reptiles, and 3 mammal species," an official said.
Not only the Urban Forest project is helping maintain ecological balance, but also provides
Pune residents a good, green walkway. "The Wajre Urban Forest is now a role model for the rest of the country," the official said.