Make Indian Elections Environmentally Friendly – Hindustan Times
In India, elections are a kind of carnival. And the 2022 edition has already started.
In the coming year, seven assembly ballots are on the cards. While Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Goa are expected to go to the polls in February-March, elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh are scheduled for December. Most parties are in the midst of the campaign, with leaders crisscrossing election-linked states, organizing rallies and meetings.
As voters in these states begin to critically assess the ballots of political parties and their representatives, they should also have another important job to do: to assess political parties on their green agendas.
However, it is not a question of examining political parties only on urgent issues such as the climate crisis, air and water pollution, urbanization, but also the impact that these elections will have. environmental legislation.
Political campaigns generate large amounts of non-biodegradable waste (flexible banners, single-use plastic), in addition to noise and vehicular pollution. Once used, these sounding materials end up in overcrowded landfills, obstruct waterways and pollute groundwater. In addition, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is also the burden of biomedical waste such as masks and face shields. These too, like plastic banners, must be properly disposed of.
Although there have been opinions from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change and the Election Commission of India (ECI) to Union States and Territories recommending parties avoid these banners single-use PVC, the trend to use these products continues. For example, after a rally ahead of the West Bengal assembly elections, city NGOs posted several photographs of plastic waste strewn across the rally grounds on social media, forcing the political party to clean up.
India has already pledged to phase out single-use plastics by 2022.
Over the years, there have been several efforts to make elections clean and green.
Ahead of the 2019 general election, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered the Election Commission of India (ECI) to ban non-degradable materials, especially single-use plastics, in election campaigns. He suggested that the Central Pollution Control Board be the central body for controlling the use of these materials.
The ICE then ordered political parties and their representatives to use “environmentally friendly substances to prepare campaign / advertising material – given the deleterious long-term impact of materials such as plastics. , polyethylene, etc. environment.”
Again in 2019, for the first time in its history, Kerala held a clean and green election after the Kerala High Court banned the use of flexible, non-biodegradable materials during the election campaign. The then Chief Electoral Commissioner of Kerala ordered political parties to refrain from using single-use plastic materials in election campaigns and advised them to opt for green options such as wall graffiti and paper posters.
According to an ECI report, candidates were advised to avoid using plastic drinking water bottles during their campaign and to only use environmentally friendly items such as fabric and cotton. paper to decorate their campaign vehicles; use steel plates and glasses for meals during the campaign. In addition, polling stations, counting centers and other polling stations were urged to avoid plastics.
Almost every district in the state has created a model green voting booth, which has also raised public awareness. The public were also encouraged to come forward and report any violations found anywhere in the state for immediate action by authorities.
Goa 2022: Eco-responsible stands
This time, Goa has announced its intention to take the Green Lane.
According to a recent report in a national daily, the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Goa, and the Goa State Biodiversity Board (GSBB) have taken the initiative to design a model of eco-friendly cabins with fully biodegradable materials for the upcoming election. of the assembly.
The green concept should be implemented in at least one stand per taluka. The material used on the stand is environmentally friendly and was entirely made by traditional local artisans from Sattari and Ponda. The green cabins, GSBB said, were created primarily by weaving bamboo and coconut leaves. This will, according to GSSB, give a boost to local artisans.
Hopefully 2022 will see more innovative ideas like these, and as we move forward, our elections will turn green and clean.
Opinions expressed are personal