New Delhi: The Centre has told the Supreme Court that a draft notification has been issued inviting objections from all the stakeholders for banning different categories of plastic, including PVC, that have a thickness of less than 100 microns.
The submission was made by Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati before a bench comprising Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Aniruddha Bose.
"We hope and trust that the Union of India will proceed to pass suitable orders and directions after finalising the objections to the draft notification," the bench said.
The top court was hearing an appeal against an order issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against the use of PVC and chlorinated plastic for banners or hoardings used during elections.
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The NGT had directed for appropriate steps to comply with the directions issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on January 17, 2019 to the chief secretaries and chief electoral officers of all the states and Union territories.
The petitioner, W Edwin Wilson, contended that it is necessary for the MoEF to issue certain directions under section 5 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 to ban the use of PVC and chlorinated plastic for advertisements during elections.
The petitioner also said the Election Commission (EC) should take pro-active steps in including this in the Model Code of Conduct and give suitable directions to all concerned.
Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the EC, stated that it is for the Centre to make necessary amendments to the Act and there is nothing for the poll panel to address at this stage.
The NGT had directed the EC and the chief electoral officers of the states to monitor the compliance of the advisories against the use of plastic, especially banners and hoardings, during elections.
The NGT order came after it was informed that the MoEF has asked the chief secretaries and chief electoral officers of the states to use alternative options during poll campaigns.
The ministry said it has written letters to them asking to use compostable plastic, natural fabrics, recycled paper and other eco-friendly material.
"In view of the fact that the MoEF as well as the Election Commission have taken the view that use of plastic during elections, particularly banners or hoardings, needs to be avoided, it will be appropriate that the compliance of advisories or directions mentioned above is appropriately monitored by the Election Commission of India, the chief electoral officers of all the states and Union territories and the Central Pollution Control Board," the tribunal said.
The green panel had passed the directions on a petition seeking a direction to the MoEF and the states to prohibit the use of short-life polyvinyl chloride (PVC), synthetic plastic polymer and chlorinated plastic, which includes banners and hoardings for promotion and advertising during poll campaigns.
The petition, moved through advocates Sanjay Upadhyay and Salik Shafique, had claimed that campaigning material made of plastic is used during elections and later, discarded as waste, which is detrimental to the environment.
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