Billions of citizens from more than 130 countries are expected to turn off their lights on Saturday for the Earth Hour 2011, the event organizer told Australia's media on Thursday.
The Earth Hour event, organized by environment group World Wildlife Fund (WWF), was first started in Sydney of Australia in 2007 with 2.2 million Australians taking part to turn off their lights in aid of the environment. By 2009, up to 1 billion citizens across the world had taken part. According to Earth Hour spokesman Winston Su, this year, 133 countries had signed up for the event, with 13 of them taking part for the first time, Xinhua informs.
"Earth Hour is a chance for people and communities across the globe to join together with the common purpose of a sustainable future for our planet," said Andy Ridley, cofounder and executive director of Earth Hour. "This year Earth Hour asks people to commit to the event, big or small, for the coming year, taking Earth Hour beyond the hour."
Among the thousands of cities taking part in Earth Hour 2011, many have already committed to taking action beyond the hour. In Sydney, Australia, plans are in the works to switch to LED lights in parks and streets. Medellin, Colombia, has committed to long-term water protection and tree planting initiatives to go "beyond 60 minutes," WWF said, RIA Novosti reports.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building