NEW DELHI: Railways minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday said a single day as World Environment Day was not enough and population was a major factor leading to environment degradation.
“The challenge is so big that one day is not enough. There is so much awareness now globally that no one can ignore the challenge. However, we have to accept the fact that population is a challenge.
So much dependence on such little natural resources is not done. If it goes down, demand will go down. We must address that,” Prabhu, who was addressing a World Environment Day function at the India Islamic Centre in New Delhi, said.
“We will plant five crore trees along railway tracks this year to boost afforestation. Any organisation is most welcome to come and participate. We have started water audits, water harvesting, recycling and initiated plans to restore water bodies. Guidelines have been issued for the use of energy-efficient appliances and mandatory use of LEDs in all coaches, railway station and buildings. There will also be energy audits, stress on use of solar energy and efficient LED lights,” the railways minister said.
The event was organised by India Eye International Human Rights Observer in collaboration with the United Nations Information Centre For India & Bhutan with Hindustan Times as print media partner.
Environmentalist Sunita Narain, who is the director general of Centre for Science and Environment, was given a lifetime achievement award for her work on environmental issues.
Rakesh Sharma, managing director and CEO of India Eye International Human Rights Observer, said if there is a will, a lot can be done. “There are around 117,000 km of railway tracks in the country. We can plant more than 25 crore trees here. We just need to wake up to the challenge,” Sharma said.