World Environment Day 2020

World Environment Day 2020 : Theme & Importance

World Environment Day has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually.

World Environment Day 2020 : Theme & Importance

Top Current Affairs 5th June 2020

Source | Business Standard


Prelims & GS Paper III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.



World Environment Day 2020

Key Takeaways

  • The day has been celebrated since 1974 by engaging governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue.
  • THEME 2020: The theme of World Environment Day 2020 is ‘Time for Nature‘.
  • India will be focusing on the Nagar Van (Urban Forests) in addition to the official theme of the World Environment Day.

Read More: BS VI Emission Norms | What you need to know?


Context: Recently, World Environment Day was celebrated worldwide on 5th June 2020 for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment.

Background of World Environment Day

According to the United Nations, “the celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises, and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment.”

  • The day has been celebrated since 1974 by engaging governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue.
  • World Environment Day has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually.
  • India will be focusing on the Nagar Van (Urban Forests) in addition to the official theme of the World Environment Day.
  • Further, the Indian Navy has also marked the day through various initiatives which are intended to reduce its environmental footprint.

The theme for 2019 was “Beat Air pollution”. The host nation was China. This theme was chosen as it has been killing about 7 million people annually.



Also Read: HEAT WAVES | What You should know?


What you need to know about World Environment Day 2020?

THEME 2020: The theme of World Environment Day 2020 is ‘Time for Nature’.

  • This year, the theme is biodiversity – a concern that is both urgent and existential. Recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, the United States, and Australia to locust infestations across East Africa – and now, a global disease pandemic – demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life, in which they exist.

NOTE: It should be noted that the official theme is ‘Time for Nature’ and should not be confused with ‘Celebrating Biodiversity’—a concern that is both urgent and existential. You can check on official UN Website.

HOST: The day will be hosted in Colombia in partnership with Germany.

NEED: Almost one million species are facing extinction worldwide and thus there has never been a more important time to focus on biodiversity.

‘Indian Navy Environment Conservation Roadmap’ (INECR)

On the occassion of World Environment Day, Indian Navy released ‘Indian Navy Environment Conservation Roadmap’ (INECR) which is a guiding document and key enabler for progressively achieving a green footprint.

Apart from above, it has also voluntarily implemented all six schedules of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) regulations.

  • It covers pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.
  • It lists various forms of marine pollution caused by oil, noxious liquid substances, harmful substances in packaged form, sewage and garbage from ships, etc.

Read More: International Day for Biological Diversity 2020



What you need to know about Nagar Vans (Urban Forests) which India is going to focus upon?

An urban forest is a forest, or a collection of trees, that grow within a city, town or a suburb. In a wider sense, it may include any kind of woody plant vegetation growing in and around human settlements.

  • As opposed to a forest park, whose ecosystems are also inherited from wilderness leftovers, urban forests often lack amenities like public bathrooms paved paths, or sometimes clear borders which are distinct features of parks.
  • Urban forests can be privately and publicly owned.
  • According to some sources the largest man-made urban forest in the world is located in Johannesburg in South Africa.
  • Tijuca Forest, in Rio de Janeiro, has also been considered to be the largest urban forest.

Environmental Impact of Urban Forests

Role in Air Pollution Reduction: Trees can prove to be an efficient source to clean the air. Trees are an important, cost-effective solution to reducing pollution and improving air quality. Active pollutant removal, Carbon sequestration and Interception of particulate matter are some of the important environmental impacts of Urban Forests.

Trees help to lower air temperatures and the urban heat island effect in urban areas. This reduction of temperature not only lowers energy use, it also improves air quality, as the formation of ozone is dependent on temperature.

  • An urban heat island (UHI) is an urban area or metropolitan area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities.
  • The temperature difference is usually larger at night than during the day, and is most apparent when winds are weak.
  • UHI is most noticeable during the summer and winter. The main cause of the urban heat island effect is from the modification of land surfaces.
  • Waste heat generated by energy usage is a secondary contributor.
  • As a population center grows, it tends to expand its area and increase its average temperature.
  • The term heat island is also used; the term can be used to refer to any area that is relatively hotter than the surrounding, but generally refers to human-disturbed areas


Role in Rainwater Runoff Reduction: Urban forests and trees help purify water sources by slowing down rain as it falls to the earth and help it soak into the soil, thereby naturally filtering out pollutants that can potentially enter water supply sources.

  • They reduce storm water runoff and mitigate flood damage, protecting the surrounding rivers and lakes.

Importance for Urban Widlife: Trees in urban forests provide food and shelter for wildlife in cities. Birds and small mammals use trees as nesting sites, and reptiles use the shade they provide to keep cool in the hot summer months.

  • Furthermore, trees provide shade necessary for shrubbery.
  • Not only do urban forests protect land animals and plants, they also sustain fish and water animals that need shade and lower temperatures to survive.
  • The most serious pollutants in the urban atmosphere are ozone, nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfuric oxides (SOx) and particulate pollution.
  • Ground-level ozone, or smog, is created by chemical reactions between NOx and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the presence of sunlight. High temperatures increase the rate of this reaction.
  • Vehicle emissions (especially diesel), and emissions from industrial facilities are the major sources of NOx.
  • Vehicle emissions, industrial emissions, gasoline vapors, chemical solvents, trees and other plants are the major sources of VOCs.
  • Particulate pollution, or particulate matter (PM10 and PM25), is made up of microscopic solids or liquid droplets that can be inhaled and retained in lung tissue causing serious health problems.

Read More: Scientists warns about Rise in Ocean Level by 2100


Economical Impact of Urban Forests

Role in Energy and Carbon Dioxide Consumption: Urban forests also contribute to the reduction of energy usage and CO2 emissions primarily through the indirect effects of an efficient forestry implementation.

  • The shade provided by trees reduces the need for heating and cooling throughout the year.
  • As a result of this reduction, energy conservation is achieved which leads to a reduction of CO2 emissions by power plants.
  • This energy consumption decrease can possibly be equated to monetary savings of $2 billion.
  • Additionally, the reduction of energy demand would reduce power plant CO2 emissions by approximately 9 million tons per year.

Role in Water Filtration: The stormwater retention provided by urban forests can provide monetary savings even in arid regions where water is expensive or watering conservation is enforced.


Also Read: Ecologically Sensitive Areas of Western Ghats



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