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This prize is considered the UN’s highest environmental honour.

UN awards Champion of Earth Prize to Cochin International AirportImage for representation.
news United Nations Sunday, July 29, 2018 - 10:20

Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) will be honoured by the UN with the ‘Champion of Earth Prize’ for the year 2018, after having successfully implemented the use of solar energy rendering it the world’s only airport run on solar power, as per reports.

This comes just three years after the airport took on a gargantuan task in October 2015: to power the airport fully and exclusively through solar energy.

This prize is considered the UN’s highest environmental honour.

An official statement by the UN’s Global Chief of Environment and Executive Director of UNEP, Erik Solheim, to the airport Managing Director V J Kurian read, “This is the United Nation’s highest environmental accolade and reflects your leadership in the use of sustainable energy."

Further stating, “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, 2018.”

A team from the UN led by Solheim himself had previously visited the Kochi airport to learn more about its solar initiatives and had met authorities as well as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The idea of a solar powered airport came from managing director V J Kurian.

“We showed the world that big infrastructure projects like Airport can be put into operation fully using alternative energy sources. By September 2018, the solar capacity at CIAL will be increased to 40 MWp, with a power potential of 60 million units per annum and resulting in a cost saving of approximately Rs.40 crore per annum to the airport. This will also avoid CO2 emissions by more than 9 lakh metric tons over the next 25 years, which is equivalent to planting 90 lakh trees or not driving 2400 million miles," he reportedly said.

In 2005, the UN established the ‘Champions of Earth’ awards to honour environmental leaders of society.

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