Chandigarh, April 06, 2019: Punjab Chief Electoral Officer Dr S Karuna Raju has asked all the political parties to not utilize single-use plastic material for electioneering and encouraged them to use eco-friendly material during the ensuing Lok Sabha Polls as per directions of Election Commission of India and Kerala high court's decision.
Disclosing this here today Dr S Karuna Raju said that Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had approached the Commission with the request for directing political parties to print out all concerned in eco-friendly material.
"A lot of the campaigning material including posters, cut-outs, hoardings, banners, political advertisements and others are made of plastic and after the elections, these electioneering material becomes waste”, he said and added that single-use plastic waste generated during the campaign causes choking of drainage, ingestion by stray animals, land and water pollution thereby causing adverse impact on human health and environment.
The CEO said that some of these plastics are Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) based, which produces emissions on burning.
The CEO said that the campaign material in the form of posters, cut-outs, hoardings, banners and others which were made of plastic contain Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC), which produces harmful emissions on burning.
He said that a number of alternates like compostable bags, natural fabrics, recycled paper and other material can be used during the campaign which has a lesser environmental impact.
Dr S Karuna Raju emphasized that such materials needed to be promoted as sustainable and environmentally friendly management practices and the upcoming Lok Sabha Polls have given an excellent opportunity to bring a revolutionary change in the election campaign by promoting such sustainable practices.
He further stated about The Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, and other applicable laws in this regard which hereby adopted for disposal of the campaign material by the local municipal levels. The authorities 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, he said.
Dr Raju urged all political parties to take adequate steps and measures to not utilize single-use plastic as campaign materials (posters, banners, etc.) during the elections in the interest of human health and environment.
He further revealed that in the judgment of the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam in WP (C) No. 7193 of 2019, B.Syamkumar v. State of Kerala & Ors. Hon'ble Court has directed all candidates and the National / State Political Parties must adhere to the aforementioned guidelines of the Election Commission Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change so that only the eco-friendly materials are used during the election campaign and there is no use of PVC flex boards and other such bio-degradable materials as campaign material, in the State of Kerala.
CEO said that the all DEOs, ROs, other election authorities to apprise political parties about the order of the Hon'ble Kerala High Court and the Commission's instructions.