The adoption of the declaration – in presence of Minister of State for Environment Mahesh Sharma, UN Environment Programme Executive Director Erik Solheim, UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Diya Mirza – came ahead of the World Environment Day on June 5.
Before the adoption of the declaration, the Culture Ministry held a stake-holders’ workshop chaired by Sharma. The workshop focussed on curbing pollution near the 17th-century monument and drawing short-term and long-term plans to deal with the problem.
According to an official statement, a pledge was taken to make the 500-metre area around the Taj Mahal litter-free and take steps to phase out single-use plastic from the area. Sharma said India and the whole world is today facing the problem of pollution caused by excessive use of plastics.
“It is a historic moment that the message of Beat Plastic Pollution is being given from the iconic Taj Mahal not only to the people of Agra and the country but to the whole world,” he told reporters.
Sharma said it is an appropriate occasion to spread Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachch Bharat message from the Taj. He said the government is committed to Agra’s holistic development in which the Centre, the state, and the local administration will work together under a single umbrella.
Solheim expressed happiness that the UN slogan of Beat Plastic Pollution for this year’s Environment Day on June 5 is being highlighted from the Taj Mahal. The coming together of all the stake-holders is heartening, he said.
Diya Mirza expressed happiness that all the agencies are together taking forward the message of a pollution-free Taj. Sharma, Solheim and Mirza also participated in a Clean Yamuna Programme on the river-front near the Taj.