NEW DELHI: In line with the 'banish single-use plastic' drive in the country, The Election Commission on Saturday asked political parties, candidates and their agents in Haryana and Maharashtra to desist from using plastic, polythene and other environmentally hazardous materials in publicity material for the Assembly polls next month.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, who announced the poll schedule for the two states at a press conference here, said that that the Commission has been asking political parties to use only environment-friendly material for campaign purposes since long.
"Considering the long-term deleterious impact of materials like plastics, polythene etc. on the life-giving and life-sustaining environment, the Commission, has directed that all political parties, contesting candidates and their authorized agents, etc., shall desist from utilizing environmentally hazardous materials like plastics, polythene, etc. for the preparation and usage election-related publicity materials during the ensuing elections to the legislative assemblies of Haryana and Maharashtra," he said.
He said the district election officers and returning officers have been directed to emphasise the importance of environment protection and preservation during the meetings with the political parties and contesting candidates and "ensure that instructions of the Commission with regard to the usage of non-eco-friendly materials like plastics, polythene etc during electioneering shall be adhered to by all concerned".
"The CEOs shall impress upon the importance of using eco-friendly and bio-degradable materials for campaign material to various political parties in states and issue necessary instructions in this regard," he said.
Arora said the poll panel had on February 26 this year again instructed that all political parties should take measures to not use single-use plastic as campaign materials (for posters, banners) during elections.
The Commission, he said, has issued advisories on several occasions urging political parties and candidates to avoid single-use plastic and non-biodegradable material in their election campaign activities.
Both Haryana and Maharashtra will go for a single-phase assembly poll on October 21.
The government has been pushing for eliminating the use of single-use plastic. The poll panel's latest thrust on using environment-friendly material in poll campaign is expected to add momentum to the efforts towards curbing the use of plastic and polythene.