Press Trust of india

Ahead of state polls, EC makes fresh push for eco-friendly campaigns

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New Delhi: Ahead of assembly polls in five states, the Election Commission has expressed concern over the use of non-biodegradable materials for campaigning and urged political parties to avoid plastic and polythene for making posters and banners.

The poll panel has come out with consolidated instructions issued by it from 1999 onwards on making election campaign “eco-friendly”.

In a letter to presidents of all recognised national and state parties on August 18, the poll panel said, “In today’s world, the environmental concerns have become more significant. Election Commission is also very concerned with the issue of environment hazards caused by use of non-biodegradable materials in elections.”

The commission pointed out that since 1999, it has been urging all political parties and candidates to avoid the use of plastic and polythene for preparation of posters, banners during election campaign.

“Protecting the environment is not an individual task but a collective responsibility and hence the Election Commission urges all the political parties to avoid the use of plastic/polythene and similar non-biodegradable materials for preparation of posters, banners during election campaign in the interest of environment and human health,” the letter said.

In one of its instructions issued in February, 2019, the poll panel had said that a lot of the campaigning material including posters, cut-outs, hoardings, banners, and political advertisements is made of plastic.

After the elections, the campaigning material is discarded and becomes waste. “Such single-use plastic waste generated during campaigning does not get collected and causes choking of drainage and river systems, ingestion by stray animals…leading to adverse impacts on human health and environment,” it had noted.

It cautioned that some of these plastics are poly vinyl chloride (PVC) based, which produces toxic emissions on burning.

“A number of alternative options to use of plastic in campaigning material are available such as compostable plastics, natural fabrics, and recycled paper material, which have a lesser environmental impact. Such materials need to be promoted as a sustainable and environmentally sound management practice,” it had said.

 

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