KOCHI: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday directed the political parties not to use polyvinyl chloride flex, hoarding and banners for election campaign and asked them to strictly follow the guidelines of the Election Commission of India.
ECI had directed to use eco-friendly campaign material during the election and there was no need for PVC flex boards and other such non-bio-degradable materials for the campaign in the state. The ECI had also held all political parties should take adequate steps and measures not to use single-use plastic as campaign materials (posters and banners) during the elections.
State not taking effective steps to curb flex menace, says HC
The Bench headed by the Chief Justice issued the order on the petition filed by B S Syamkumar of Attingal seeking a directive to ensure only eco-friendly materials are used for the purpose of advertisement and during the election campaigning.
According to him, the state is not taking effective steps to prohibit the manufacture, storage, sale and use of PVC flex. PVC flex is the most environmentally hazardous consumer material and it is a nonbiodegradable material. The petitioner pointed to the order of the National Green Tribunal directing the governments to pass orders in relation to ban on short-life PVC and chlorinated plastics as expeditiously as possible.
Representing the Election Commission of India, Murali Purushothaman produced the copy of the communication issued on February 26 directing all the political parties to make the forthcoming election eco-friendly and opt for the elimination of single-use plastic materials in the election campaign. The Election Commission made the suggestion in the interest of human health and the environment.
The court also pointed to the order of another bench directing to remove unauthorised PVC flex boards within the limits of various local authorities in the state. The ECI also handed over the communication sent by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change. It stated a lot of campaigning material, including posters, cutouts, hoardings, banners and political advertisements was made of plastic. After the elections, the campaigning materials were discarded.
Such single-use plastic waste generated during campaigning are not collected and causes choking of drains and river systems, ingestion by stray animals, land and water pollution. Open air burning leads to adverse impact on human health and the environment. The ministry had also suggested promoting the use of compostable plastics, natural plastics and recycled material which have a lesser environmental impact.
The petitioner also sought a directive to the state government to implement the ban on the manufacture, storage, transportation, import, use and sale of PVC flex in the state. The use of PVC flex boards will be in negation of the Environment (Protection ) Act as well as the Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016.