New Delhi, 6th March, 2009 :India is in for a greener electoral process during the forthcoming general elections scheduled in April-May this year. In a move aimed at reducing the hazardous impact of plastic on the environment, the Election Commission of India (ECI) asked political parties and candidates to avoid use of plastics in posters, banners and other election material. The ECI also issued a slew of directives including prohibiting the transmission of objectionable text messages on mobile phones and a ban on religious places like temples, mosques, churches or other places of worship as forum for election propaganda.
"The political parties and candidates should try to avoid the use of plastic and polythene for preparation of posters, banners in the interest of environmental protection," the Election Commission (EC) said in its guidelines distributed to political parties. The commission’s directive comes at a time when various state governments have banned the use of plastic bags.
While several political parties welcomed the ECI’s step, noted animal rights activist and environmentalist Maneka Gandhi also requested the commission to ban the use of animal symbols as well.
"I agree with it completely. And they (Election Commission) should also stop parties and candidates from using animal symbols," she said.
The Congress party said it was an eco-friendly move and good for both public health and the environment.
"Certainly the party has to shell out more money for campaigning material as plastic flags, posters and other campaigning materials are much cheaper. However, in view of the impending health hazards it is a commendable decision," Congress Spokesman Shakeel Ahamad said.
Following a ban by Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh, the Government of Delhi had on January 7 this year ordered a complete ban on the use, sale and storage of all kinds of plastic bags in the state.