The Environmental Cost Of India's Lok Sabha Elections

Manon Verchot, Mongabay-India

India has been trying to make the ongoing national elections more environment-friendly by cutting down on the amount of single-use plastics.

However, the election campaigns have painted most roads with political colours, through the use of banners, mostly made of single-use plastics like the carcinogenic polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Around 99% of these banners will end up in landfills, according to Sanjay Upadhyay, Supreme Court lawyer and managing partner of the Enviro Legal Defence Firm.

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According to Upadhyay, this phenomenon began around the 2004 elections. Earlier, political parties would rely on cloth and paper banners.

The Central Government of India set 2022 as a target for banning all single-use plastic. Currently, India produces 15,342 tons of plastic waste daily, the Central Pollution Control Board found in 2018. Though many states have banned plastic bags and single-use plastics, implementation has been a challenge.

To address the issue, both the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change(MoEFCC) and the Election Commission of India (ECI)  sent out advisories to states and Union Territories recommending that parties avoid these single-use PVC banners.

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