Parts of India switch off power to observe 'Earth Hour'

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 23, 2013 16:36 hrs

New Delhi: The national capital observed Earth Hour by switching off lights at India Gate, Qutab Minar, Humayun's Tomb, the historic Red Fort, Central Park in Connaught Place and many other buildings at 8.30 p.m. Saturday.

Around 1,000 people gathered at Central Park in Connaught Place at an event organised by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWFN).

"This year's Earth Hour is not only about saving power but it is also about promoting renewable sources of energy," said Rituparna Gosh from WWFN.

Singer Rekha Bhardwaj performed at the venue.

Bollywood actors Ajay Devgun, Tom Alter, Shruti Hassan and pugilist Mary Kom are supporting the campaign.

"As the world celebrates Earth Hour by switching off lights across the globe for an hour, it reminds us of the scarcity of energy," said Arun Gupta, managing director of NTL Electronics, a leading lighting manufacturer.

Said to be the largest environmental campaign in history, Earth Hour was first observed in Sydney in 2007 to send a strong message calling for action on climate change and environmental conservation.

India observed its first Earth Hour in 2009 with people in 56 cities switching off lights.

The event has gone global with organisers claiming that more than 6,000 cities and towns across 150 countries switch off their lights for the hour this year.

The iconic Victoria Memorial and many commercial establishments remained enveloped in darkness for an hour Saturday, as people of the city came together to observe 'Earth Hour' -- the global initiative to save energy and reduce global warming.

This year, Earth Hour was observed from 8.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.

Pledging support to the initiative, hotels such as the Park switched off its lit signage besides non-essential lights.

Only an elevator was operational as guests were encouraged to dine in candle light.

Some people resolved to limit the use of paper and increase the use of recycled paper as a prelude to 'Earth Hour'.

Similarly, Sonnet Hotel, touted as an eco-friendly establishment, in association with Media Connect, dimmed lights from 6.30 to 7.30 p.m. and used smokeless candles to illuminate the premises.

Many people also switched off TV sets, air-conditioners and most lights.

Information Technology professionals also worked in semi-darkness as major lights were switched off in offices.

Children supported the cause through virtual games themed on Earth Hour.

Besides purchasing solar lanterns, thousands sent virtual lanterns to friends across the world via the 'Earth Hour' website.

Ace sand-artist Sudarshan Patnaik carved a magnanimous eight-feet long sculpture on a beach in Bhubaneswar with an aim to create mass awareness on Earth Hour day to be observed today.

Patnaik said that this sculpture would be on display till Sunday.

"We have started a campaign here in Odisha, which will go on till tomorrow. We have created a sand sculpture eight-feet long to create awareness among the people here about saving energy," he said.

The prime objective of this fantastic creation is to create mass awareness on Earth Hour, and encourage the people to switch off their lights and electrical appliances for an hour and save energy.

This eye-catching sculpture measures eight feet in height showing a globe reading '60 earth hours' alongside a message 'Save Power, Save Earth'.

Around 10 tonnes of sand was scooped and used to create this sculpture, which was completed in about eight hours.

Patnaik has created a series of sculptures on the issue of global warming in the past as well.

This sand sculpture by Patnaik and his team of students has been a major attraction for the locals as well as the tourists.

Swayam Prakash Baral, a local, appealed to the people to save energy by switching off power for an hour.

"We are working in the field of renewable energy and we are quite aware about the global warming and other issues. So, on the occasion of 'Earth Hour Day', the world is observing by switching off the electricity for one hour. So, this is an appeal to the people of India and people of Odisha," said Baral.

More than 150 Indian cities will participate in the Earth Hour on Saturday, joining over 7,000 of their counterparts across the world in raising awareness about climate change and its impact.

Earth Hour is a concept initiated by World Wide Fund (WWF) and is observed annually by almost all the major cities around the world during the last week of March.

Nagaland joined people across the country and the rest of the world in observing earth hour today.

Organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature, earth hour is observed every year to create awareness about conservation of energy and climate change.

The new Governor Dr Ashwani Kumar had appealed to the people to observe the earth hour tonight by switching off lights for an hour to express their commitment to the planet.

Bollywood star Ajay Devgn, who has joined hands with WWF-India to pledge his support to the Earth Hour 2013, has urged everyone to use energy wisely and save as much as possible.

Ajay said everyone needs to unify for this purpose, and even teach children the importance of saving energy.

"I think everybody can make a difference. I think if we will teach all this to our children and do it ourselves also, there won't be any need to tell all this to the next generations. They will do it themselves," Ajay said here at a campaign led by WWF-India to support Earth Hour.

"I myself use solar as much as possible at my home. I have taught my children to switch off the lights and fans when not necessary," he added.

For actors, people often have a perception that they enjoy star status and travel all the time in air-conditioned cars, but Ajay asserts that it isn't the case.

"There is nothing like that. If you see, it is the stars who work more than others. We shoot in all conditions - be it hot, cold or rainy. We go through everything. It is not an easy job."

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