Lok Sabha polls: EC stresses on ‘environmentally sustainable’ elections

EC urged political parties to avoid use of non-biodegradable material for campaigning

Representative image | PTI Representative image | PTI

The Election Commission on Saturday said that directions have been issued to the poll machinery to ensure “environmentally sustainable elections”. Addressing the poll announcement press conference, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar said, “There should be no waste visible at polling stations across the country after casting of votes. It should be collected and disposed off as per rules.” 

“We have e-books on all subjects which can be accessed from our website,” he said.  

Kumar added that the use of paper should be minimised. “Less and less paperwork and how can we reduce the carbon footprint through recycling etc... is our commitment and responsibility towards the environment,” Kumar said.

The EC is already running a "Go Green" initiative towards a more environmentally responsible and efficient electoral system. One of the initiatives that is aimed at environmental sustainability is issuing digital vouchers to political parties. As part of this, the allotment of time on government-owned media such as Doordarshan and All India Radio to political parties will be done online through digital vouchers. 

“By adopting digital vouchers, the Commission is demonstrating its commitment to sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and modernisation. This initiative not only benefits the environment but also enhances the experience for political parties involved in the electoral process,” reads the Election Commission’s General Elections 2024 document. 

“It sets a positive example for other governmental bodies and organisations to follow, highlighting the importance of embracing digital solutions and eco-friendly practices in a rapidly changing world.” 

The EC has also been urging the political parties through advisories to avoid the use of non-biodegradable material for campaigning. 

“Protecting the environment is not an individual task but a collective responsibility and hence the Commission urges all the political parties to avoid the use of plastic/polythene and similar non-biodegradable materials for the preparation of posters, banners, etc... during the election campaign in the interest of environment and human health. In this connection, on 18th August 2023, instructions were issued to all CEOs and political parties to make our elections eco-friendly,” reads the EC press note.

Hailing the environmentally-conscious move, Mashhood Alamsenior research associate, BRCG Research and Development Foundation said, “The EC has launched encouraging initiatives like encouraging political parties to prioritise sustainable practices during the upcoming polls. Clear directions have been provided to the election machinery and parties alike, emphasising the importance of waste management and eco-friendly practises.” 

“Nonetheless”, adds Alam, “It would be interesting to see the extent to which political parties embrace the directives and implement sustainable measures throughout the election process.” 

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