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World Environment Day 2021: History, significance, and all you need to know

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The Times Of India
05th June, 2021 08:00 IST

World Environment Day is celebrated annually on June 5 and is a United Nations initiative for encouraging worldwide protection of our environment. The day aims to create awareness among more and more individuals to take certain actions against the growing strain on Earth ’s natural ecosystem .

A healthy ecosystem directly means a healthy livelihood. Every organism on the planet is dependent on the environment for food, air, water, and habitat. Here is all you need to know about World Environment Day 2021.

History
The United Nations General Assembly designated June 5 as World Environment Day in the year 1972. The day gives a chance to people to address the challenges planet Earth is facing and provides an opportunity to work together to build a greener future.

World Environment Day was established on the first day of the Stockholm Conference on Human Environment. The theme of the first World Environment was ‘Only One Earth.’

The theme for WED 2021
The theme of World Environment Day 2021 is ‘Ecosystem Restoration.’ We will see the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration which will include suggestions to reverse the damage caused by human activities to the environment.

Pakistan will host the day this year in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme . Every year, Environment Day is hosted by different countries around the globe. The day has a participation of more than 143 countries annually.

Ecosystem restoration means a process of reversing the damage caused to the ecosystem and help in its recovery. The UN Decade will run from the year 2021 till 2030, which is the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Effects of the pandemic on the environment
The global outbreak of coronavirus disease has also affected every part of human lives, including the physical world. The pandemic has affected the environment in myriad ways. A recent American research found that the environment is changing quickly and the timing of those changes indicates that the pandemic might be the reason.

Positive impact
The air quality has improved in India by more than 20% after the lockdown was imposed. The noise pollution which affects the physiological health of humans creating hypertension is also declining as the lockdown mandates people to stay at home. The reduced number of travelers has lessened the pressure of tourist destinations, directly leading to the restoration of the ecological system.

Negative Impact
A study conducted proved that more than 240 metric tons of medical waste like surgical masks, PPE kits, and gloves were produced in India every day in the year 2020. The increasing burden of untreated waste is continuously affecting the environment. People are disposing of used surgical masks and gloves on the streets, leading to destruction to the animals living in the ecosystem.

How can we contribute to Ecosystem Restoration?
We can contribute to Ecosystem Restoration by opting for the self-production of natural products like soaps, creams. Self-production will lessen the amount of CO2 released in the environment.

We can try to replace the cling wraps with eco-friendly beeswax wraps as it is more breathable than plastic wrap. Swapping tea bags with loose leaves in a reusable strainer is a healthy habit to develop. One small step like washing cars on a lawn rather than a road can contribute to ecosystem restoration.

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