On Saturday, the Capital plunged into darkness from 8.30pm to 9.30pm, as the citizens celebrated Earth Hour 2011. From government buildings to corporate offices and homes, people celebrated the ‘darkness’ for a brighter future even as they pledged to save energy and the environment.
The annual initiative, which is aimed at combating environmental hazards such as global warming, saw people from all walks joining in. This year, citizens across nations pledged to go beyond the hour and try to conserve energy every single day.
An event organised by the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), Delhi government and Hindustan Times, at the India Gate Lawns saw hundreds of people converge for the ceremonial switching off.
Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, actress Vidya Balan, Ravi Singh, secretary general and CEO (WWF) and Jim Leape, director genearal, WWF International joined in with the crowd in the countdown before Dikshit and Balan pressed the button to switch off the lights.
As darkness dawned, the sky lit up with lantern shaped balloons. Actor Vidya Balan said, “Being the first woman ambassador for an event like this is an honour.” The day also saw performances by rock band Euphoria and danseuse Anamika Singh and her troupe.
In Delhi: Rashtrapati Bhawan and the sprawling President’s Estate, India Gate, 25 heritage monuments, including Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb and Qutab Minar, all government buildings, ITDC Ashok and other hotels.
Elsewhere: The residence of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Victoria Memorial in Kolkata and CST in Mumbai.
Worldwide: Australia’s Opera House became the first among global landmarks to go dark on Saturday. The Eiffel Tower in Paris and the world’s tallest building in Dubai also switched off lights. Beijing’s Bird Nest stadium, where 2008 Olympics were held, New York’s and London Eye also participated in the global event. Japan, reeling from tsunami, had thousands of people in hotel-turned-evacuation centre celebrating the EarthDay.