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Posted at: Apr 22, 2019, 8:57 AM; last updated: Apr 22, 2019, 8:57 AM (IST)OPEN HOUSE COMMENT

EC bats for eco-friendly campaigning

Minna Zutshi

Election campaigning generates tonnes of non-biodegradable waste that is not only avoidable but also unnecessary.

The Election Commission has directed all political parties to make elections eco-friendly and use environment friendly campaign material during elections.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has urged the political parties to take up “sustainable practices and try using alternate option to single-use plastic during elections”.

A communique from the ministry to the Election Commission states: “A lot of the campaigning material, including posters, cut-outs, hoardings, banners, political advertisements etc, is made of plastic. After the elections, the campaigning materials are discarded and become 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, land and water pollution, open air burning leading to 10 adverse impacts on human health and environment. Some of these plastics are Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) based which produce toxic emissions on burning….”

Among the suggested alternates to plastic are natural fabrics, recycled paper material which have lesser environmental impact.

A proactive administration and receptive political parties can play a pivotal role in making elections eco-friendly. According to the Election Commission of India, the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, are to be adopted for disposal of the campaign material by the local civic body and the cost for the same shall be recovered from the candidates or political parties, as the case may be in accordance with the polluter pays principle.

The Election Commission has urged all political parties to take the required steps to ensure that they eschew from using single-use plastic as campaign materials in the “interest of human health and environment”.

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