"Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Ganga rejuvenation priority is an excellent example that India is thinking big. Clean Ganga Fund is a brilliant idea," Steiner said at the inauguration of three-day trade exhibition IFAT India 2014, organised by trade show company Messe Munchen's IFAT India.
He said, "India's Prime Minister has an ambitious programme, to stimulate India's economic growth to pull millions out of poverty, to improve living standards. And also to achieve a clean India."
Stating that the rate of resource consumption was already alarming, Steiner said, "Raw material consumption is estimated to triple from 2020 to 2050. And this on top of the already precarious pollution level."
"So the one-million-dollar question is how to on the one hand, reach necessary economic growth rates without, on the other, destroying the environment, the very basis of our life? But India is neither the first nor the only country to face these challenges. Many countries have to tackle these questions. Germany also underwent tremendous transformation," he said.
The German Ambassador said his country is standing ready to support India's mission towards clean Ganga, adding that a German scoping mission has already started working in this regard this week. He said their experience stems particularly from cleaning up Germany's river Rhine which flows through Ruhr valley that used to be toxic and biologically dead.
"Major clean-up efforts of all stakeholders in Germany generated technical know-how and decades-old experience. We would like to share these with India, together with state-of-the-art solutions developed by German companies. We also want to help to raise public awareness," he said.
Emphasising that concerted efforts are crucial, Steiner said, "Private sector should still be the main stakeholder towards Green Growth and Clean India! Indian environmental sector will grow for sure. There are huge opportunities for Indian, German and international enterprises."
Underlining that green sector is one of the fastest growing industries with millions of new jobs being created, he said, "Let's team-up: IFAT India is an excellent occasion. This is an excellent platform to showcase green technologies and services."
Providing an opportunity for companies to showcase a range of world class products and services in the environment industry, the IFAT India 2014 exhibition has over 120 exhibitors.
Exhibitors from over 15 countries including USA, UK, Austria, Great Britain, Italy, and Malasia among others will take part in the exhibition, which will last till Saturday. A large number of 5,000 footfall is expected.
The Ambassador also awarded seven journalists, who emerged as winners in "All India Environmental Journalism Competition".