Narendra Modi Takes Charge as India's Prime Minister
Narendra Modi urges Indians to create a cleaner planet Reuters

To mark World Environment Day on 5 June, the newly elected Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has urged his countrymen to work together to create a cleaner planet.

Modi used Twitter to encourage Indians to pay more attention to the environment and reduce pollution.

"Let's serve as trustees, where we utilise our natural resources for the present and at the same time ensure happiness of future generations," Modi said in a tweet.

He added, "Along with government efforts, people's participation can make a big difference in creating a cleaner and greener planet."

On WED 2012, Modi published a letter addressed to the state of Gurajat, where he was chief minister, defining sustainability as a "moral issue" that "involves out future generations".

"Friends, the choice in front of us is clear. Either we allow environmental degradation to continue unchecked or we take remedial steps to ensure happiness of our future generations," he wrote. "From our experience in Gujarat, I can say that Government action alone is not the key to the environment changes we desire.

"No strength is mightier than people's participation! It is the small steps you take in your daily lives that will make a big difference in the quest for an environment friendly planet.

According to the latest statistics by the World Health Environment (WHO), half of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India, with Delhi having the highest rate of air pollution in the world.

According to Global Burden of Disease (GBD), outdoor air pollution has become the fifth largest killer in India after high blood pressure, indoor air pollution, tobacco smoking and poor nutrition.

The report said that about 620,000 premature deaths occur in India from air pollution-related diseases. It also highlighted that annual premature deaths caused by particulate air pollution have increased by six times since 2000 and accounts for one fifth of global deaths.

WED was designated by the UN to raise awareness on environmental issues.