Kochi: The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) has been selected for the ‘Champion of Earth Prize-2018’, the highest environmental honour instituted by the United Nations. CIAL is honoured for its successful execution of the solar power project which made Cochin airport the first in the world fully powered by solar energy.
A communiqué signed by Erik Solheim, United Nation’s global chief of environment and executive director, UNEP, sent to V.J. Kurian, managing director, CIAL stated that “this is the United Nation’s highest environmental accolade and reflects your leadership in the use of sustainable energy.”
The communiqué further adds “previous Champion laureates range from world leaders to inspiring scientists - all visionaries who drive the world closer to its aspiration of environmental sustainability and a life of dignity for all. As the world’s first fully solar powered airport, you set an ambitious example that we hope many others will follow.”
The award will be presented at a gala ceremony on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York on September 26.
Earlier, a UN team led by Erik Solheim had visited Cochin airport to know about its solar initiatives and held discussions with authorities, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who is also the chairman of the company. During his visit Mr Solheim had revealed to the media that United Nations was intending to endorse Cochin airport officially as the world’s first airport fully powered by solar energy.
UN established Champion of Earth award in 2005 to recognise outstanding environmental leaders from the public and private sectors, and from the civil society. There are fourcategories wherein the CIAL was chosen for ‘Action and Inspiration ‘ which recognises individuals or organisations that have taken bold environmental action, and, in doing so, inspired others to follow in their footsteps.
The awardees of 2017 included Michelle Bachelet, President of Republic of Chile, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, World’s largest bike sharing app Mobike and Chinese afforestation community Saihanba.
CIAL, the company which owns and operates the country’s first airport built under Public Private Partnership mode became power neutral in August 18, 2015 with the commissioning of its 12 MWp solar power plant. It scaled up the installed capacity to 30 MWp by April 2018....