Will NGT notice to EC on using alternate material spike political campaign spends?

National Green Tribunal has notified the Election Commission of India that political parties must use only eco-friendly material for OOH campaigns

e4m by Anjali Thakur
Updated: Nov 15, 2019 2:34 PM

Political parties may have to increase their budget for OOH ad spends by 10-15%, thanks to National Green Tribunal (NGT). NGT has notified the Election Commission of India to ensure that political parties use only eco-friendly material for any OOH used during campaigns.

With state elections around the corner starting with Jharkhand in November-December, followed by Delhi in February. political parties that plan to go all out on OOH are reluctant to switch to alternate material as it pushes their budget for the medium. Experts suggest that those not willing to push the budget northwards may have to cut down on spends in OOH.

NGT's notice urges political parties to not use material such as PVC flex for campaigns be it on hoardings or banners. In that case, political parties are left with no option but to use eco-friendly material such as recycled paper, natural fabric and compostable plastic.

“Materials including eco-friendly paper can be used for OOH. The only drawback is that they are expensive compared to the kind of material that is used presently,” said Prem Shankar Jha, Deputy Commissioner, SDMC.

While the OOH industry is all for going eco-friendly, the use of alternative material for the same will not be an easy transformation especially before the elections said experts. Pawan Bansal, COO, Jagran Engage says minimizing PVC flex will be a big challenge for the industry. “In places like Jharkhand, there is a lot of use of wall wrap during the elections. If we have to regulate PVC flex, then the cost of the wall wrap will not be sustainable for political parties. I think this will only force political parties to cut down on the spends. The expenses will go up for printing eco-friendly material. We really don’t know if the political parties are willing to spend on eco-friendly fabric.”

Indrajit Sen, independent consultant says that it is indeed a welcome move by NGT. “We all know how harmful these PVC flex are for the environment, it's best that everyone moves towards more eco-friendly option. Although, it is 10-15% costly than the regular medium but at the same time it is need of the hour.”

Companies like Sun Fabrics, Arvind Mills are doing their bit by providing an eco-friendly alternative for flex and other non-biodegradable material. Deepak Girotra, director, Sun Fabrics said, “Aiming to curb the widespread use of PVC Flex hoardings, we have eco-friendly substitute for hoarding and banners. There is a cost difference but this material is gaining attention in the display advertising business.”

Similar action was taken before the Lok Sabha elections too and generated mixed reactions from the industry.

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