Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said efforts are on to make the Union Territory of Ladakh a carbon-neutral region.
Carbon neutrality means having a balance between emitting carbon and absorbing it from the atmosphere in carbon sinks. It is significant as greenhouse gas or carbon emissions adversely affect the climate.
"Just like Sikkim has made its mark as an organic state, efforts are being made to make Ladakh a carbon-neutral region," said Modi, addressing the country from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of the 74th Independence Day.
In 2003, Sikkim became the first state to announce adoption of organic farming, which also helped in reducing its carbon footprint.
Sikkim stopped importing chemical fertilisers and since then the cultivable land there is practically organic and farmers of the state are traditional users of organic manure, an environment ministry official said.
In 2018, the northeastern state won the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)'s 'Future Policy Award' for best policies on promoting agroecological and sustainable food systems.
In Ladakh, several wind and solar energy projects are underway. Among these is an upcoming 7,500 megawatt (MW) solar power plant which will significantly reduce the union territory's carbon footprint and contribute towards carbon neutrality.
"Ladakh has big potential for solar energy. Within five years from now, a 7,500 MW solar power plant will be installed there which will help in reducing the carbon footprint drastically," said Jigmet Takpa, joint secretary of the environment ministry.
Ladakh produces 0.1 per cent of India's total carbon emissions, another senior officer of the environment ministry said. "Making Ladakh carbon neutral is a vision of development. It aims at carrying out developmental activities in the territory along with minimising carbon emissions. Ladakh's emissions are very low at 0.1 per cent of India's emissions due to less development in the area. The government is planning to get investment for solar and wind energy and it will be announced soon," the officer said.