The NGT's decision came after it was informed that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has asked the Chief Secretaries and Chief Electoral Officers of all states and UTs to use alternative options during election campaigns.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Election Commission of India and the Chief Electoral Officers of all states and Union Territories to monitor the compliance of advisories against the use of plastic, especially banners and hoardings, during elections. The NGT’s decision came after it was informed that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has asked the Chief Secretaries and Chief Electoral Officers of all states and UTs to use alternative options during election campaigns.
The ministry said that it has written letters to them asking to use material such as compostable plastic, natural fabrics, recycled paper and other eco-friendly material. “In view of the fact that MoEF as well as Election Commission have taken the view that use of plastic during elections particularly banner/ hoardings needs to be avoided, it will be appropriate that compliance of advisories/ directions mentioned above is appropriately monitored by the Election Commission of India, Chief Electoral Officers of all the States/UTs and the Central Pollution Control Board,” the tribunal said.
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A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel passed the directions on a petition seeking a direction to the MoEF and states to prohibit use of short-life polyvinyl chloride (PVC), synthetic plastic polymer and chlorinated plastic, which includes banners and hoardings, for promotion and advertising during the poll campaigns.
The petition, moved by W Edwin Wilson through advocates Sanjay Upadhyay and Salik Shafique, had claimed that campaigning material made of plastic is used during elections and later discarded as waste, which was detrimental to the environment.
The petition had also claimed that a letter was sent to the Secretary, MoEF, seeking directions to all state governments and the Election Commission for imposing complete prohibition of PVC hoarding/ banners/flexes by implementing and complying with the environmental norms, but no response was received.