Sun, 24 Sep 2023

New Delhi [India], September 22 (ANI): National Cadet Corps (NCC) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Thursday to tackle the issue of plastic pollution and achieve the goal of clean water bodies through 'Puneet Sagar Abhiyan' and 'Tide Turners Plastic Challenge programme'.

The MoU was signed between DG NCC Lt General Gurbirpal Singh and Resident Representative, UN World Food Programme Bishow Parajuli, according to an official statement.

Union Minister Ajay Bhatt, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and other senior officials of the ministry and the representatives of UNEP were present on occasion.

"NCC and UNEP signed an MoU today to further advance Puneet Sagar Abhiyan. NCC started the program in December 2021 with motive to remove plastic and other wastes materials from waterbodies and eliminate adverse effects of pollution caused by plastic on our environment," Defence Secretary told reporters.

While addressing the event Ajay Kumar described 'Puneet Sagar Abhiyan' as one of the noblest initiatives and lauded the efforts of NCC in making the campaign a grand success.

He asserted in the statement that 1.5 million NCC cadets have the ability to influence the thinking of youth across the world, exuding confidence that they will be instrumental in making the campaign a mass movement.

Ajay Kumar thanked the UNEP for extending its support to NCC for the campaign, stating that "it is our collective responsibility to protect the environment for future generations to live a long and healthy life".

The 'Puneet Sagar Abhiyan' is among the slew of initiatives taken by the Government to realise the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which he referred to as 'Panchamrit' during the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference, COP26, held in Glasgow, Scotland between October 31 to November 13, 2021.

The Prime Minister had presented five nectar elements as India's unprecedented contribution to deal with climate change.

The elements include -- India will take its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030, India will meet 50 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030, India will reduce the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now till 2030, by 2030, India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by more than 45 per cent and by 2070, India will achieve the target of Net Zero.

In December last year, the NCC had launched 'Puneet Sagar Abhiyan', a nationwide flagship campaign, initially for one month, to clean sea shores of plastic and other waste material, while raising awareness about the importance of cleanliness.

It was subsequently extended as a Pan-India round-the-year campaign to cover rivers and other water bodies as well.

The NCC, the largest uniformed youth organisation in the world, mobilised its cadets to collect plastic and other waste material. The campaign gained tremendous momentum, acceptance and participation following its launch. Different Ministries and organisations, including Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Department of ScienceTechnology, Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, Sainik School Society, Army Welfare Education Society, Border Roads Organisation and National Highways Authority of India have extended their support to the NCC in this noble cause.

Since the launch of 'Puneet Sagar Abhiyan', over 100 tonnes of plastic waste have been collected from nearly 1,900 locations by more than 12 lakh NCC cadets, alumni and volunteers, impacting 1.5 crore people. Of the approximately 100 tonnes of collected plastic waste, more than 60 tonnes have been handed over for recycling.

Following the growing support and success of the campaign, the UNEP, engaged in this initiative through their 'Tide Turner Challenge Programme', decided to join hands with the NCC, with the aim to leverage the youth organisation's strengths. The UN body has the mandate and knowledge base for addressing various issues relating to environment, including plastic pollution and has a programme for engaging youth, the official statement read.

The aim of the MoU between NCC and UNEP is to synergise and collate efforts towards engaging youth for promoting clean water bodies. The objective is to engage in capacity building and awareness on environmental sustainability through information sharing and training initiatives; promote opportunities for NCC cadets to participate in appropriate nationalinternational platforms related to environment and climate change and engage in and develop joint initiatives of mutual intent pertaining to environment and climate change. The MoU, to remain in force for a period of three years, aims at consolidating, developing and detailing their cooperation and effectiveness to achieve the common objectives in the field of environment. (ANI)

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