Poll campaign goes green in West Bengal

With the state pollution control board tightening the noose, political parties have adopted eco-friendly measures during campaign for the Assembly polls in West Bengal this time.

Last Updated: Apr 29, 2011, 12:30 PM IST

Kolkata: With the state pollution control
board tightening the noose, political parties have adopted
eco-friendly measures during campaign for the Assembly polls
in West Bengal this time.

As party workers went round soliciting votes, they kept in
mind people`s sensitivity about environment by obeying
restrictions on the use of loudspeakers, avoiding use of
plastics in making party flags and using only diesel generator
sets during power cuts, PCB officials said.
Days ahead of the fourth round of the six-phase poll, the
pollution watchdog has not received any complaint against
violation of its green guidelines issued to all 24 political
parties after the campaigning began early last month.

"There have been no complaints because the High Court and
the Election Commission supported us when some political
parties threatened to go against our guidelines in using
loudspeakers," WBPCB`s chief law officer Biswajit Mukherjee
told agency.

Also because none of the candidates wanted to attract
voter`s ire by polluting the environment, Mukherjee observed.

During election campaign, rampant use of loudspeakers by
all parties result in noise pollution while a huge quantity
of waste materials are generated from the preparation of
flags, festoons, banners, etc. which cause environmental
hazards.
But with an increased awareness on environmental issues
this election season, politicians adopted the `Go Green`
mantra.

Besides following the 55-65 decibel limit while using
loudspeakers, the main opposition party Trinamool Congress
even introduced banners made from biodegradable jute.

"Ours is a complete eco-friendly campaign as we avoided
the use of plastics as much as we could. We are the first
political party in West Bengal to have adopted jute for
roadside banners.

"Even while using paper for making posters, we didn`t
cross the limits advised," said Madan Mitra, a party candidate
from Kamarhati constituency in North 24-Parganas district.

BJP state secretary Ritesh Tiwari said that they used
flags made of cloth this time.

"Although there was no ban on the use of plastic, we
followed the advice of the authorities and made sure we do not
use any plastic while campaigning," he said.

Ruling CPI-M`s central committee member and state housing
minister Gautam Deb said that their campaigning didn`t have
any adverse affect on the environment.

"As law-abiding citizens, we`ve followed the existing
guidelines and there has been no violation from our side," he
said.

Many parties took halls and auditoriums on rent for
campaigning while avoiding parks and grounds. Others used hand
mikes, which cause less noise pollution.
To control sound pollution during election campaign, WBPCB
guidelines had restricted the use of loudspeakers with sound
limiter in the amplifier, prohibition in using any public
address system at night and during board examinations.

Besides asking them to carry a valid Pollution Under
Control (PUC) certificate in each vehicle used in
electioneering, political parties were also asked to use green
diesel generator set during power cuts for prevention and
control of air and noise pollution.

The board had also restricted poll meetings in designated
children`s parks and gardens and asked them not to use trees
to fix banners or flags.

"Just because there has been no official complaints, we
cannot claim that there has been zero violation. But we are
sure that this is the least polluting election in the recent
years," the WBPCB official said.

After the elections in all the constituencies are over,
parties have been asked to collect all biodegradable waste
used in campaigning and send it for recycling to their
respective municipalities.

PTI