Prime Minister Narendra Modi is amongst the six winners of the United Nation’s highest environmental honour, the ‘Champions of the Earth Awards’ that was announced on Wednesday for his “unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022.” Modi along with French President Emmanuel Macron were recognised in the ‘Policy Leadership Category’ for their “pioneering work in championing” the International Solar Alliance and “new areas of levels of cooperation on environmental action”, the UN Environment Programme said.
BJP president Amit Shah tweeted on Wednesday that “It is a matter of great pride for every Indian” that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been awarded the UN’s highest recognition for people whose actions have had a transformative impact on the environment.
The Cochin International Airport took home the ‘Entrepreneurial Vision’ Award for its leadership in the use of sustainable energy. “Cochin is showing the world that our ever-expanding network of global movement doesn’t have to harm the environment. As the pace of society continues to increase, the world’s first fully solar-powered airport is proof positive that green business is good business,” the UNEP statement said.
The other winners include environmental and indigenous rights defender Joan Carling and the ‘Beyond Meat and Impossible Food’ in the Science and Innovation category for their popular, plant-based alternative to beef and “their efforts to educate consumers about environmentally conscious alternatives.”
China’s Zhejiang’s Green Rural Revival Programme was awarded for the Inspiration and Action for the “transformation of a once heavily polluted area of rivers and streams in East China’s Zhejiang province.”
The awards, the UNEP said, will be presented during the Champions of the Earth Gala in New York City, on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly. It is the UN’s highest environmental recognition “celebrating exceptional figures from the public and private sectors and from civil society, whose actions have had a transformative positive impact on the environment,” the UNEP noted.
Past winners have included Afroz Shah, who led the world’s largest beach cleanup and won the award in 2016, Rwandan President Paul Kagame also won the same year, while former US Vice-President Al Gore won the award in 2007. Ocean Cleanup CEO Boyan Slat won in 2014, while scientist-explorer Bertrand Piccard, and developer of Google Earth Brian McClendon won the award in 2013.