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CSR: How Environment Suffers During Election Season

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The upcoming Lok Sabha election is keeping the political institutions and leaders on their toes in India. The parties are trying their best to grab the attention of the public using various methods. Various mediums are used to market their propaganda, leaders as well as campaign for the election. Amid all this chaos, the environment is left ignored which bears the brunt of all the waste generated during this season.

Hoardings are one of the most popular methods to grab attention by the political parties during the election season. The problem with these hoardings is that they are made using polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which is a major environment as well as a health risk.

For the 2019 general election, the election commission of India has suggested the political parties to avoid using PVC in their campaign material. This suggestion is made considering the long-term deleterious impact of materials such as plastics, polyethene, etc. on the life-giving and life-sustaining environment.” The suggestion, however, is not part of the moral code of conduct which has made it not very effective. As a result, PVC hoardings are visible all over the place in every city.

According to the credit rating agency ICRA, 90% of outdoor advertisements are printed on PVC and up to 18,000 tonnes of flex banners are printed on the polymer every month in India. The printing spikes during election time. In fact, according to Sanjay Upadhyay, a supreme court lawyer and a managing partner of the Delhi-based Enviro Legal Defence Firm (ELDF), in two or three months of the election process, the plastic consumed is as much as in two or three non-election years.

While it is important for the parties to market the work done by them and present their manifesto accurately to the citizens, it is also important for them to understand that as citizens of earth, we cannot afford to get carried away and ignore the health and environment implications of using PVC. It is time for political parties to prove that they care about the well being of the nation and environment by coming up with more creative methods of advertisements and minimise the use of single-use plastic from their marketing campaign.

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Regards,
The CSR Journal Team

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