GREATER NOIDA :
PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that India would raise its target for restoring degraded land from 21 million hectare to 26 million hectare by 2030. Days before the UN convention commenced, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar had announced that India was aiming to restore 50 lakh hectare of its degraded land by 2030. Speaking at the high level segment at the 14th session of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Modi said between 2015 and 2017, India’s tree and forest cover increased by 0.8 million hectares.
“India looks forward to making effective contribution as we take over COP presidency for two years.We have also increased our tree cover between 2015-17 by 0.8 million hectares. “I would like to announce that India will raise its ambition of the total area that will be restored from its land degradation status -- from 21 million hectare to 26 million hectare between now and 2030,” the Prime Minister said.
The opening session of the segment was also addressed by Javadekar, UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J Mohammad, UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw and Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Addressingnearly200nations,70environment ministers and over 8,000 participants from across the globe, Modi urged the world to stop using single-use plastic which was a menace forthe land and environment. “Another form of land degradation, which if not prevented, would become impossible to reverse.
This is the menace of plastic waste. Apart from having adverse health implications,this is going to render land unproductive and unfit for agriculture. “My Government has announced that India will put an end to single-use plastic in the coming years.Ibelieve time has come for even the world to say good bye to single-use plastic,” Modi said. In his address,Modi noted that climate change is also leading to land degradationof various kinds, ranging froma rise in sea levels and wave action, erratic rainfall and storms, and sand storms caused by hot temperatures. “When we address degraded lands, we also addresswater scarcity. Augmenting water supply, enhancing water recharge, slowing down water run-off and retaining moisture in the soil are all parts of a holisticlandandwater strategy,” he said.