SC notice to Centre, ECI on plea against use of plastic during polls

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NEW DELHI, Jan 9 (AGENCIES): The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from the Centre and the Election Commission of India on a plea against use of plastic, especially banners and hoardings, during elections. A bench comprising justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and the poll panel while seeking their response within four weeks.

The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by advocate W Edwin Wilson against the National Green Tribunal’s order asking the Election Commission of India and the chief electoral officers of all states and UTs to monitor the compliance of advisories against the use of plastic. The plea, through advocates Sanjay Upadhyay and Salik Shafique, in the apex court said that the NGT did not pass effective order on the main issue of ban on PVC banners used in elections which are a huge menace.

Wilson had claimed that campaigning material made of plastic is used during elections and later discarded as waste, which was detrimental to the environment.

He has sought a direction 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 NGT’s decision came after it was informed that the MoEF had asked the chief secretaries and the chief electoral officers of all states and UTs to use alternative options during election campaigns.

The ministry said that it had 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 the MoEF as well as the 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 had said.

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