New Delhi: An hour
of darkness is due to set in, quite literally, when Delhi along
with 5,500 cities across the globe turn off lights as part of a
global effort to save power Saturday.
As the clock strikes 8.30 p.m., houses, public buildings, business
centres and even the Rashtrapati Bhavan will turn off lights,
turning the spotlight on climate change.
An initiative by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the 60-minute mass
campaign will witness participation by switching off all
electrical appliances and lighting fixtures. Running in its fifth
year, the Earth hour is now what experts call the largest mass
movement for awareness on reducing carbon footprints.
"A total of 5,251 cities were a part of Earth hour 2011, 1.8
billion were reached out in the last campaign," a WWF official
said. The hour-long campaign is organised annually on the last
Saturday of March.
With a couple of hours remaining to go for the Hour, last minute
SMSes, mails and messages on social networking sites are doing the
rounds as distcoms and environment action groups urge people to
contribute to the voluntary initiative.
"I wish such events happened more than once a year. I am trying to
reach out to all my friends and colleagues," banker Abhishek
Bhandari posted on Facebook.
While many would be joining the campaign from their homes, people
have also formed groups to gather at India Gate for candle vigils
for the cause.
"My friends will be going to India Gate, but I have not yet
decided to be a part of any such group. Fuel energy spent in
reaching the spot will be much more than energy saved... so better
do it at home," Harry Vashishtha, working with an IT firm in
national capital region, told IANS.
According to a statement, the Rashtrapati Bhavan - the
presidential palace - too will observe Earth Hour by switching off
all the lights in the building's exterior. Other popular landmarks
such as the Qutub Minar and the Red Fort in Delhi, the Chhatrapati
Shivaji Terminus and the Gateway of India in Mumbai, national
defence establishments, universities, hotels, cinema complexes and
shopping malls across the nation will also participate in the
"During the Earth Hour, we will set up telescopes at India Gate
between 7.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m. for the public to view celestial
objects. We as urbanites are able to see only Moon and few other
celestial objects even in clear skies; the reason is too much of
light pollution in metropolitan cities," said Mila Mitra,
scientific officer at Science Popularization Association of
Communicators and Educators (SPACE).
"SPACE will be showing views of the night sky through telescopes
to make people aware of how much more you can see when ambient
lights are lower," Mitra added.
Delhiites saved around 300 MW power in the last Earth hour,
distcom BSES said.
Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million
individuals and over 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for
one hour to take a stand against climate change. India joined the
campaign in 2009 and currently, mainly the urban centres in the
country are participating.