New Delhi, March 13: With the election campaigns heading in India ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission of India has directed all political parties, contesting candidates and their representatives to use the eco-friendly substances for preparing election publicity material.
India’s parliamentary elections are an unparalleled democratic feat. So are its consumption of poll and campaign materials, and undoubtedly the use of non-degradable materials. But this year there seems to be an effort to reduce such materials, at least single-use plastics.
After the ECI declared the dates for the Lok Sabha elections on 10th of March, the unusually lengthy press brief document had two paragraphs that dealt with measures to prevent public nuisance. The one being avoiding use of non-degradable, or single-use, plastics and other hazardous materials during campaigns and the other being to adhere to noise pollution norms in the use of loudspeakers
“Considering the long-term deleterious impact of materials such as plastics, polythene on the life-giving and life-sustaining environment, the parties are expected to make use of eco-friendly substances for preparing election campaign material”, the statement read.
This is after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Election Commission to take a decision on banning non-degradable materials, particularly single use plastics in election campaigns. It further suggested the Central Pollution Control Board to be the nodal body for monitoring the use of such material.
Meanwhile, India has already committed to do away with the use of single-use plastics by 2022. Sanjay Upadhyay, a lawyer who argued in the NGT, cited the Environment Protection Act, 1986 for the NGT to direct the Election Commission to stop use of such materials.
While the government of India is yet to take a call on banning biodegradable materials as directed by the NGT, on March 11 the Kerala High Court banned the use of flex and other non-biodegradable materials for campaigning throughout the state.