Environment Environment and WIldlife India News

Delhi to Start Odd-Even System to Curb Pollution

Under this plan, vehicles with odd-numbered license plates can drive on odd dates, and those with even-numbered plates on even dates….reports Asian Lite News

In bid to combat the worsening air quality in the national capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal chaired a high-level meeting on Monday, focusing on addressing the air pollution crisis, and decided on various measures, including launching the odd-even scheme next week.

Expressing his deep concern about the situation, Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues, including Environment Minister Gopal Rai, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, Health Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj, and Education Minister Atishi, deliberated on key decisions to mitigate the issue.

Addressing the media on the government’s strategy after the meeting, Rai said that the government has decided to implement the Odd-Even scheme from November 13 to 20, post-Diwali, in response to the anticipated surge in pollution levels.

Under this scheme, vehicles with licence plates ending in odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, and 9) will be allowed to operate on odd days, while vehicles with even-numbered plates (0, 2, 4, 6, and 8) will be permitted on even days.

“A comprehensive action plan, developed in collaboration with relevant departments, including Transport and Traffic Police, will be formulated during a meeting on Tuesday,” he said.

“Furthermore, the government has extended the closure of schools for students in Classes 6, 7, 8, 9, and 11 grades until November 10, in addition to the existing closure of schools up to Class 5. Notably, board exams for Classes 10 and 12 will proceed as scheduled,” said Rai.

In response to concerns raised about the efficacy of pollution control efforts, Rai said that the Delhi government’s continuous year-round commitment to reducing pollution through various long-term initiatives, such as the Summer and Winter Action Plans.

“According to scientists and the meteorological department’s analysis, the main reason for the rise in pollution within Delhi is the continuous drop in temperatures and very low wind speed. The air quality index (AQI) in Delhi was 347 on October 30. Subsequently, it increased to 359 on October 31, 364 on November 1, 392 on November 2, 468 on November 3, and 415 on November 4. Then, on November 5, it increased further to 454, and on Monday, it was recorded at an AQI of 436, which had peaked at 468 in between,” he said.

“To reduce vehicular pollution in Delhi, the Transport Department and Traffic Police have conducted campaigns to check Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates. A fine of Rs 10,000 is imposed for violating PUC norms, and 28,471 fines have been issued to vehicles during the periods of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) levels I, II, and III,” said Rai.

“This has helped in controlling vehicles that contribute to pollution in Delhi. Moreover, an anti-dust campaign was conducted in Delhi, where 12,769 construction sites were inspected. Violations of norms were found at 324 locations, resulting in fines of around Rs 74 lakh. Complaints related to the increase in pollution have been received through the Green Delhi app. From October 3 until now, 1,646 complaints have been registered, and 1,581 of these complaints have been resolved with the cooperation of various departments.”

“Additionally, 233 smog towers have been installed at various projects, and 106 anti-smog guns have been installed on government buildings to control pollution. Mobile anti-smog guns have been spraying water on the roads at 192 locations,” Rai claimed.

“Various teams have been deployed for different tasks, such as addressing open burning, checking vehicle emissions, and enforcing restrictions on fireworks. In total, 611 teams are working in the field to address open burning, 385 teams are checking vehicle emissions, and 210 police teams have been formed to control the use of firecrackers.

“Furthermore, 82 MRTs (Multi-Tasking Resource Vehicles) are cleaning the roads through water sprinkling and cleaning. An additional 345 water sprinklers from various departments are working on the roads to mitigate pollution in different areas. The concerted efforts include the installation of 233 smog towers at different project sites and 192 mobile anti-smog guns spraying water on the roads. Additionally, 106 anti-smog guns have been installed in various government buildings to combat pollution,” he added.

The Environment Minister further said that in Delhi, there is a complete ban on fireworks.

“Last time, despite the ban, fireworks were set off in various places. In this regard, the police have been instructed to keep their teams on alert, as Diwali is just a few days away.

“Additionally, there are World Cup matches, and Chhath Puja is also approaching.”

The Environment Minister urged the BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to impose a ban on fireworks in their states as well and monitor the situation to prevent it from deteriorating further.

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Environment Environment and WIldlife India News

Delhi Stops Entry of Diesel Buses into City From Today

A decision was taken to stop construction work within a one-kilometer radius in hot spots where the AQI level continuously remains close to 400…reports Asian Lite News

Environment Minister Gopal Rai chaired a review meeting at the Delhi Secretariat on Wednesday on the rising pollution level and implementation of Graded Response Action Plan-II.

A decision was taken to stop construction work within a one-kilometer radius in hot spots where the AQI level continuously remains close to 400, he said.

“The entry of diesel buses into Delhi has been stopped from today as per the directions by CAQM (Commission for Air Quality Management). 18 teams have been formed for this…It is my request to the state governments to ply only CNG, Electric or BS-VI buses from their depots so that passengers do not face any trouble,” the Delhi environment minister said.

Taking account of the poor air quality situation of the national capital, Rai said that the next 15-20 days from November 1 onwards would be critical in the context of the air quality index.

Speaking to ANI, Rai said: “From November 1, the next 15 to 20 days are critical. Scientists are saying that the temperature is dropping and the speed of air has decreased, so pollutants are at a lower level. Yesterday, AQI was nearly 350. Due to the work going on in the 13 hotspots in Delhi, the situation is fairly under control. At some hotspots, vehicle pollution’s contribution is high.”

The Environment Minister further said that different departments will convene a meeting later in the day to analyse the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)-II.

“Today there is a meeting of different departments to analyze GRAP-II, which was implemented in all of Delhi. We have asked for reports from different places to know what the sources of local pollution are. We have requested that the state governments send CNG or BS-VI buses from the depot itself. The report released by the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) shows that stubble burning has reduced, but its impact can be seen on Delhi pollution,” the minister added.

Meanwhile, the air quality index in the national capital was recorded at 336 on Wednesday morning bringing the air quality under the ‘very poor’ category for the fourth day in a row and the third straight day this week.

As per the SAFAR-India, the city’s AQI has been in the ‘very poor’ category since Sunday (309).

The AQI was recorded at 322 on Monday and 327 on Tuesday, as per the data provided by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR)-India. (ANI)

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Environment Environment and WIldlife India News

‘No Data on Natural Calamities With Himalayan States From Govt’

Another astounding fact is that while there are 694 glacial lakes in Sikkim, the number of flood forecasting stations there, are only eight…writes Animesh Singh

Even as Sikkim was devastated by flooding of a glacial lake owing to a cloudburst earlier this month leading to several casualties, the Centre in a recent report accepted that it has failed to provide any data related to avalanches, landslides and even cloudbursts to the state in the last 10 years. In fact not even any advisory was issued to the Himalayan states (including Sikkim), in anticipation of floods.

Another astounding fact is that while there are 694 glacial lakes in Sikkim, the number of flood forecasting stations there, are only eight.

Arunachal Pradesh has 1,602 glacial lakes while it has only three flood forecasting stations. Similarly, Himachal Pradesh has only one station to monitor 513 glacial lakes, while Uttarakhand has six flood forecasting stations to monitor 347 lakes.

This was informed by the Union Jal Shakti Ministry to a Lok Sabha Parliamentary panel on water resources in a report titled “Glacier management in the country – Monitoring of glaciers and lakes including glacial lake outbursts leading to flash floods in the Himalayan region”.

Incidentally, the report was presented in Parliament in March this year during the budget session.

“When asked whether any data has been made available to state governments or local authorities in respect of avalanches, cloudbursts and landslides in Himalayan region during the last decade and advisories, if any, issued by the Central Water Commission (CWC) in anticipation of the floods, the department replied in negative,” the report stated.

To a query on whether India has any data sharing policy with the Himalayan-Karakoram countries so that large-scale modelling of future glacier and runoff evolution can be done with improved accuracy, the ministry informed the committee that “so far as data sharing policy with the Himalayan-Karakoram countries is concerned, no specific information is available in respect of data sharing policy so that large-scale modelling of future glacier and runoff evolution can be done with improved accuracy”.

When asked to furnish details of those glacial lakes which are increasing not only in numbers but also in size in the Himalayan region because of retreating glaciers, the ministry in its written submission stated that no such study on temporal changes in glacial lake number and their extent has been carried out by ISRO and Geological Survey of India (GSI).

On October 4, heavy rains caused the glacial South Lhonak lake in Sikkim to breach its banks, causing a glacial lake outburst flood. The flood reached the Teesta III Dam at Chungthang at midnight, before its gates could be opened, destroying the dam in minutes. Several people died in the flash floods, while several hundreds are missing, even as rescue operations are on.

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Asia News Environment Environment and WIldlife

Fukushima Starts Release of 2nd Batch of Radioactive Water

For the purpose of measuring the level of dilution, the mixture is kept in a pit known as a discharge vertical shaft….reports Asian Lite News

Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant has begun the release of second batch of its treated and diluted water into the sea, NHK World reported.

Tokyo Electric on Tuesday started to prepare for the second round of water release by adding around 1,200 tonnes of saltwater to one tonne of purified water.

For the purpose of measuring the level of dilution, the mixture is kept in a pit known as a discharge vertical shaft.

The tritium level was determined to be between 63 and 87 becquerels per litre, significantly below both the utility’s own guideline of 1,500 becquerels and Japan’s environmental discharge requirement of 60,000 becquerels, according to Japan-based media publication, NHK World reported.

The second release began at 10:18 a.m (local time) today.

On August 24, Tokyo Electric Power Company began the first round after diluting the treated water to lower tritium to around one-seventh of the World Health Organization’s drinking water quality advisory limit.

As scheduled, the release was finished on September 11.

Within three kilometres of the facility, the seawater samples had a maximum tritium concentration of 10 becquerels per litre, which is much lower than the 700 becquerels required to cease the release.

This time, Tokyo Electric intends to release 7,800 tonnes of treated water over the course of 17 days from 10 tanks. The sum is the same as it was in the preliminary round, NHK World reported.

By the end of March, 40 tanks containing about 31,200 tonnes of treated water is expected to be discharged.

It was in August this year that the Japanese government had announced that it would begin discharging the water used to cool melted nuclear fuel at the plant that has been treated through a state-of-the-art liquid processing system capable of removing most radionuclides, except tritium.

In April 2021, Yoshihide Suga, Kishida’s predecessor, gave his approval for the water release into the Pacific Ocean “in about two years”.

While several European nations have relaxed import restrictions on Japanese food, China has instituted blanket radiation testing on its neighbour’s seafood exports in an apparent effort to persuade Tokyo to abandon its plan, causing diplomatic strain.

Beijing has been opposed to the proposed water discharge for years, refusing to adopt the pseudo-scientific term “treated” to minimise the dangers of the “nuclear-contaminated water,” according to Kyodo News.

Local fishermen in Japan have opposed the water release proposal because they fear it will further damage the reputation of their seafood goods.

Since the nuclear disaster, water has been stored at the site in more than a thousand tanks. It has been treated using an advanced liquid processing system, which is thought to be able to remove all radionuclides but tritium.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the facility’s operator, has asserted that the tanks are getting close to capacity and may approach their maximum as early as 2024 if the operator doesn’t start releasing the treated water. (ANI)

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-Top News Environment and WIldlife World News

UN Treaty Event Spotlights Global Environmental Agreements

The amendment limits the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons, and reduces the emissions of powerful greenhouse gases…reports Asian Lite News

The environment and its sustainability is in the spotlight at this year’s multilateral Treaty Event at the UN headquarters from September 19 to 22, held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly high-level debate.

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and the Convention on Biological Diversity are among the multilateral environmental agreements highlighted this year.

They aim to address the triple crisis of climate disruption, biodiversity loss and pollution destroying the planet, which require a collective response from the international community. In addition to the protection of the environment, highlighted treaties cover other areas of global concern, including human rights, gender equality, the law of the sea, and disarmament.

During the Treaty Event, member states are invited to sign, ratify or accede to any of the more than 600 multilateral treaties deposited with the UN Secretary-General.

“Universal participation to these treaties is absolutely fundamental to their success,” said David Nanopoulos, Chief of the Treaty Section.

He pointed to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which regulates nearly 100 ozone-depleting substances and has been credited with repairing the ozone layer and slowing down climate change.

“Thanks to universal participation in this treaty, the ozone layer is well on its way to full recovery.”

Out of 52 multilateral treaties to be highlighted at this year’s event, 17 are related to the environment, including the historic BBNJ Agreement, which will open for signature on September 20.

The BBNJ Agreement is an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention of Law of the Sea to address the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

These areas cover over two-thirds of the ocean. The breakthrough agreement, which was adopted on June 19 was called “a victory for multilateralism” by Secretary-General António Guterres.

The BBNJ Agreement will enter into force 120 days after it is ratified by at least 60 states, which includes signing and national approval by the state, a process that typically takes years.

“The oceans are in crisis,” said Vladimir Jares, Director of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, reiterating the importance of the agreement.

He said the UN hopes states will aim for universal participation, of which the first step is signing the agreement.

In addition to the BBNJ Agreement, there is one other new multilateral UN treaty at this year’s Treaty Event.

That is the UN Convention on the International Effects of Judicial Sale of Ships.

Known as the Beijing Convention on the Judicial Sale of Ships, it establishes a harmonized and simplified regime that secures cross-border recognition of judicial sales of ships, ensuring the smooth operation of international trade.

Also highlighted this year is the so-called Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which has already been joined by more than 150 parties.

The amendment limits the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons, and reduces the emissions of powerful greenhouse gases.

In September 2000, the UN invited world leaders attending the landmark Millennium Summit to take advantage of their presence at UN Headquarters to join a wide range of major international treaties.

By signing multilateral conventions or depositing their instruments of ratification, accession or through other instruments establishing the consent to be bound, the member states contribute significantly to the advancement of the rule of law in international relations and the cause of peace.

Since then, the Treaty Event has been held annually, usually coinciding with the General Debate of the General Assembly in September.

Since 2000, the UN Treaty Events have resulted in more than 2,000 treaty-related actions, including signatures, ratifications and accessions.

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-Top News Canada Environment and WIldlife

Thousands flee homes across British Columbia from wildfires

Premier of British Columbia Daniel Eby said that a further 30,000 people are also under an evacuation alert….reports Asian Lite News

Following the state of emergency declared by Canada’s British Columbia province due to the wildfire, the evacuation order in the province has surged to 35,000 from a day earlier, reported Al Jazeera.

Premier of British Columbia Daniel Eby said that a further 30,000 people are also under an evacuation alert.

“The current situation is grim,” Eby added.

Moreover, Western Canada authorities have implored tens of thousands of people to heed evacuation orders and warned of difficult days ahead as ‘severe and fast-changing forest fires in the province intensified further.

Earlier on Friday, British Columbia province declared a state of emergency as the out-of-control fire in the province’s southern region grew more than one hundredfold in 24 hours, according to Al Jazeera. 

The fire – centred around Kelowna, a city of 150,000 people and located some 300 kilometres (180 miles) east of Vancouver has partially shut down some sections of a key transit route between the Pacific coast and the rest of western Canada.

Moreover, it has also caused damage to many properties.

The province accounts for more than a third of Canada’s 1,062 active fires.

Bowinn Ma, BC’s minister of emergency management said that the situation in the popular boating and hiking destination was ‘highly dynamic’.

“We cannot stress strongly enough how critical it is to follow evacuation orders when they are issued,” she said at an afternoon news conference. They are a matter of life and death not only for the people in those properties but also for the first responders who will often go back to try to implore people to leave,” he added.

Gord Milson, the mayor of West Kelowna, described the mood in the town as “anxious” owing to the escalating wildfire, reported Al Jazeera.

“There’s just so much smoke it’s difficult to truly assess what’s occurring. But we were able to get further air support today which will help us fight the fires. But unfortunately, there were some structures lost last night and today. So, we are not out of it by any means,” he further said.

The blazes in British Columbia during the strong winds and dry lightening due to a cold mass of air interacting with hot air built-up in the humid summer.

Additionally, those conditions have further intensified existing forest fires and have also ignited new ones, Al Jazeera reported.

The deputy fire centre manager at the Kamloops Fire Centre Jerrad Schroeder, said, “We are still in some critically dry conditions and are still expecting difficult days ahead.”

Furthermore, while asking for help, officials in British Columbia said that the province is in dire need of shelter for evacuees and firefighters and have further ordered a ban on non-essential travel to make temporary accommodations available in this situation. (ANI)

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-Top News Canada Environment and WIldlife

Trudeau calls emergency meeting on wildfires

The territory government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday and issued an evacuation order on Wednesday in response to out-of-control wildfires…reports Asian Lite News

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has convened an emergency meeting to discuss the wildfire crisis in the Northwest Territories.

Mass evacuation of areas in the territory is ongoing, including the capital city of Yellowknife, the territory’s largest community with a population of more than 20,000. Residents were ordered to leave by noon Friday, Xinhua news agency reported, citing local media.

The territory government said on Thursday on its website that only residents who do not have the option to evacuate by car are asked to register for flights and that residents with health concerns and a higher risk of severe outcomes are encouraged to register for an evacuation flight to avoid worsening air quality.

The Canadian Armed Forces said on Thursday on social media that they are in Yellowknife and have hit the ground running to provide support and help protect communities from wildfires.

The territory government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday and issued an evacuation order on Wednesday in response to out-of-control wildfires. Local media reported that the wildfires could reach the outskirts of Yellowknife by the weekend.

According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, there were around 1,000 active forest fires in Canada as of Thursday, 236 of which were burning in the Northwest Territories.

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-Top News Environment Environment and WIldlife

Amazon nations miss agreed deforestation Goal

While Colombian President Gustavo Petro wants other countries to match his pledge to ban new oil exploration, Brazil is considering exploring new areas at the mouth of the Amazon river….reports Asian Lite News

The eight countries that share the Amazon basin have fallen short of an agreed goal to end deforestation, leaving each nation to pursue its own conservation goals.

Delegates from Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela have assembled in the Braziliancity of Belem for a two-day summit on the issue, the first such gathering in 14 years, reports the BBC.

A joint statement on Tuesday, named the Belem declaration, created a new alliance to combat deforestation, but left each country to pursue its own conservation goals. 

It also said the new alliance would aim to “prevent the Amazon from reaching a point of no return”.

The statement also included commitments to enhance co-operation on issues like water management, health, sustainable development and common negotiating positions at global climate summits.

Addressing the “severe worsening of the climate crisis” in his opening speech at the summit on Tuesday, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said “the challenges of our era, and the opportunities arising from them, demand we act in unison”.

“It has never been so urgent,” the BBC quoted the President as saying.

Differences in opinion however, was witnessed at the summit.

While Colombian President Gustavo Petro wants other countries to match his pledge to ban new oil exploration, Brazil is considering exploring new areas at the mouth of the Amazon river.

The summit came less than a week after it was revealed that the level of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has dropped to its lowest since 2017.

According to the data shared by the Brazilian space agency Inpe on Aug 3, 500 sq km of rainforest were cleared the country last month which was 66 per cent less compared to July 2022, reports the BBC.

Inpe said that the area of forest cut down in the first seven months of 2023 was smaller than that razed in the same period in 2022.

When President Lula took office in January, he had promised to halt the damage done during his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro’s four-year term.

Bolsonaro had promoted mining in indigenous lands in the Amazon and forest clearances soared at the same time as resources to protect the forest were cut.

Preserving the Amazon is a central part of efforts to tackle climate change.

The rainforest is a crucial buffer in the global fight against climate change and 60 per cent of it is located in Brazil.

The billions of trees that make up the Amazon, often called “the lungs of the planet”, hold vast amounts of carbon, accumulated over centuries, and every year their leaves continue to absorb carbon dioxide that would otherwise remain in the atmosphere and contribute to the rise in global temperatures.

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Environment Environment and WIldlife USA

Extreme heat kills 147 people in US

The three states have been the most-affected by the worst of this summer’s extreme heat…reports Asian Lite News

A total of 147 people have died in the US states of Arizona, Nevada and Texas this month as a result of the excruciating summer heat wave that has swept major parts of the country.

The three states have been the most-affected by the worst of this summer’s extreme heat, reports CNN.

Of the 147 fatalities, Arizona’s Pima and Maricopa counties accounted for 64 and 39, respectively; while 26 deaths occurred in Clark county, Nevada; and 11 and seven in Texas’s Webb and Harris counties.

Several heat-related deaths were also reported in California, parts of the South and the Midwest, though the tolls have not been as high as those in the five counties mentioned above. 

Maricopa county, which is home to the city of Phoenix and has officially tallied at least 39 heat-related deaths, has 312 more fatalities still under investigation.

The fatalities came as temperatures soared to record-breaking levels at the end of June, and continued to bake much of the South and Southwest through July, reports CNN. 

Phoenix logged the hottest month of any US city on record, with 31 consecutive days at or above 43 degrees Celsius from June into July.

The death toll from extreme heat to-date is far higher than tornadoes and flooding combined. 

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Environment Environment and WIldlife UAE News

Visa Foundation teams up with Emirates Nature-WWF for green economy

Emirates Nature-WWF’s conservation work focuses on creating transformative impact for people and planet, in alignment with national and international goals….reports Asian Lite News

Emirates Nature-WWF announced a $250,000 grant from Visa Foundation to support the non-profit’s mission to co-create and implement science-based projects that support local nature and wildlife preservation, climate action, market transformation and the green economy, and food and water security in the UAE.

Emirates Nature-WWF’s conservation work focuses on creating transformative impact for people and planet, in alignment with national and international goals.

The grant from Visa Foundation will enable the expansion of conservation efforts to build resilient rural communities in the UAE, with a focus on promoting nature-positive farming. Agroecology and sustainable principles will be utilized to limit the use of agrochemicals, enhance water efficiency and encourage intercropping, contributing to the revitalization of traditional farming for current and future generations.

This project demonstrates how Nature-based Solutions can be implemented to strengthen climate adaptation, enhance biodiversity and benefit society.

Emirates Nature-WWF will involve the local community as well as civil society in the implementation of the project, with an aim to spread awareness of sustainable farming practices and scale-up the delivery of transformative impact.

The grant is a part of the Visa Foundation Gives program, an ongoing initiative dedicated to addressing local social issues in the communities surrounding Visa’s largest global offices.

Through the Visa Foundation Gives initiative, Visa employees will also have an opportunity to volunteer for nature, in nature through Emirates Nature-WWF’s flagship Leaders of Change program.

The UAE’s pioneering civil mobilization movement, Leaders of Change, activates volunteers to create change on the ground through trainings, ideation sessions and exciting volunteering excursions.

By engaging volunteers around nature and creating opportunities to discover wild spaces and wildlife, the program aims to change internal mindsets across the country and empower individuals to take action for nature – through real, impact driven conservation projects that are being implemented on the ground.

Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General at Emirates Nature-WWF said “Partnerships have consistently played a pivotal role in Emirates Nature-WWF’s 22-year journey of leading conservation projects in the UAE.

We are honored to be selected by Visa Foundation for this generous grant, a testament to their commitment, which will support our local conservation initiatives in the Year of Sustainability and beyond, she added.

“We are proud to introduce this important initiative in the UAE and focus our support on issues that matter to Visa employees and the communities where they live and work,” said Graham Macmillan, President, Visa Foundation.

“We are dedicated to working with local organizations who are making a meaningful difference and so we are pleased to extend this grant to Emirates Nature-WWF to support them in delivering transformative impact in environmental conservation in the UAE,” he added.

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