Green Elections

Green Elections

This article covers ‘Daily Current Affairs’ and the topic details of ”Green Election”. This topic is relevant in the “Polity and Governance” section of the UPSC CSE exam.


Why in the News?

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has expressed apprehension regarding the environmental hazards linked with the utilisation of non-biodegradable substances in electoral processes. Since 1999, it has consistently encouraged political parties and candidates to refrain from using plastic or polythene for creating election-related materials during campaign periods.


About Green elections 

Green elections entail conducting electoral activities while minimising their ecological impact. This includes various measures aimed at reducing waste, conserving resources, and promoting eco-friendly practices throughout the electoral cycle.


Key Principles of Green Elections

  • Sustainable Campaign Materials: Candidates and political parties prioritise the use of eco-friendly materials such as recycled paper, biodegradable banners, and reusable signage.
  • Digital Outreach: Leveraging digital platforms like social media, websites, and email campaigns to minimise paper usage and reduce the carbon footprint associated with traditional campaigning methods.
  • Energy Efficiency: Adopting energy-saving measures for campaign events, including the use of LED lighting, sound systems with low power consumption, and organising rallies in locations accessible by public transportation.


Benefits of Green Elections

  • Environmental Conservation: By reducing waste generation and resource consumption, green elections contribute to environmental conservation efforts and help mitigate climate change.
  • Public Awareness: Promoting eco-friendly practices during electoral campaigns raises public awareness about environmental issues and fosters a culture of sustainability.
  • Long-Term Impact: Implementing green election practices sets a precedent for future electoral processes, encouraging continuous improvement in environmental stewardship within the political sphere.
  • Cost Savings: While initially requiring investment in sustainable infrastructure and practices, green elections often lead to long-term cost savings. By reducing the need for disposable campaign materials, minimising energy consumption, and optimising resource usage
  • Setting a Positive Example: By adopting green election practices, political entities demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility and leadership. This sets a positive example for other sectors of society and encourages broader adoption of sustainable practices beyond the electoral arena.


Challenges and Considerations

  • Cost Implications: Transitioning to green election practices may involve initial investment in eco-friendly materials and technologies, which could pose financial challenges for candidates and electoral bodies.
  • Behavioural Change: Encouraging widespread adoption of sustainable practices requires a shift in attitudes and behaviours among political stakeholders, voters, and electoral staff.
  • Accessibility Concerns: Ensuring inclusivity in green election initiatives by addressing accessibility barriers, particularly for marginalised communities, is crucial for equitable participation in the democratic process.
  • Infrastructure Limitations: In some regions, inadequate infrastructure may hinder the adoption of green election practices. Limited access to recycling facilities, renewable energy sources, and sustainable transportation options can pose logistical challenges and impede efforts to minimise the environmental footprint of electoral activities.


Some successful Eco-friendly Electoral initiatives taken in India and the World

Kerala’s Green Campaign

During the 2019 general election, the Kerala State Election Commission took proactive steps to encourage political parties to avoid single-use plastic materials in their campaigns. This initiative aimed to reduce plastic waste and promote eco-conscious practices among political entities. Additionally, the Kerala High Court imposed a ban on non-biodegradable materials like flex banners, pushing for the use of more sustainable alternatives such as wall graffiti and paper posters.


Goa’s Artisan-Crafted Eco-Friendly Booths

In 2022, the Goa State Biodiversity Board introduced eco-friendly election booths for the Assembly elections. These booths were constructed using biodegradable materials crafted by local traditional artisans, showcasing a blend of sustainability and traditional craftsmanship. This initiative not only reduced the environmental impact of the election process but also supported local artisans and promoted eco-friendly practices.


Collaborative Efforts in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Government bodies in Thiruvananthapuram collaborated with the district administration to ensure green elections by implementing various eco-friendly practices. This collaboration included conducting training sessions for election workers in villages to raise awareness about environmental stewardship and promote sustainable election practices. By involving local communities and emphasising the importance of eco-conscious initiatives, Thiruvananthapuram set a commendable example for fostering green elections.


Sri Lanka’s Carbon-Sensitive Campaign

Key takeaway: Measured emissions, offset them with tree planting, raising environmental awareness. It reduced emissions through careful monitoring and engaged the public in reforestation efforts.


Estonia’s Digital Voting Revolution

Key takeaway: Introduced digital voting as an alternative to paper ballots. It eliminated paper waste associated with traditional voting systems.

Download Yojna daily current affairs eng med 30th March 2024


Prelims practise question


Q1. Consider the following statements:

  1. According to the Constitution of India a person who is eligible to vote can be made a minister in a State for six months even if he/she is not a member of the Legislature of that State.
  2. According to the Representation of People Act, 1951, a person convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment for five years is permanently disqualified from contesting an election even after his release from prison.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Answer: D


Mains practise question


Q1. Reflect on the role of technology in promoting eco-friendly electoral practices, particularly in the context of digital voting systems and online campaigning. What opportunities and challenges does technology present in achieving green elections?


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