Shri Oommen Chandy
Hon. Chief Minister of Kerala
CC -To All Ministers
Sub: Banning the use of Plastic Hoardings in Kerala
Dear Chief Minister.
This is to bring to your urgent attention about the environmental hazards due to the excessive use of plastic hoardings and flex boards in Kerala for public announcements of government as well as for the propaganda of political parties and social organisations. Even by conservative estimates, annually, more than 150 Crore worth of plastic hoardings and flex create an environmental and socio-cultural menace in Kerala. Tens of thousands of flex hoardings across Kerala- and rather excessive number of plastic hoardings in the urban centres of Thiruvanthapuram, Kochi and other cities are a clear violation of existing laws and the ruling of the High Court of Kerala. Hence we would request you to do the needful to follow the laws and policies of the government and take immediate decision and action to stop the practise of using flex hoardings/boards for all government programmes. As you very well know, it is not a good practise or a sign of democratic governance when tax payer’s money is used to erect flex hoardings only to announce the faces of respective ministers. You have been in public life for more than 55 years and everyone knows your face and you won every election without the flex hoardings. A leader of your experience and credibility do not need plastic hoardings to make people of Kerala familiarize with your face. Hence, please set a good practise of democratic governance by giving instructions not to use huge plastic hoardings and boards to publicise the face of respective ministers. For example, the hoardings of Coir Kerala exhibition with two prominent photographs of you and the respective ministers serve no purpose at all on more than two hundred kilometre stretch on the MC Road or national highway. Hence, please do the needful to ensure a total ban of plastic hoardings/boards for the publicity of government programme. Please use the money wasted on hoardings to promote a clean and green Kerala.
Following are the reasons for our public interest advocacy to seek your intervention to ban the use of plastic hoardings and flex boards with immediate effect:
1) It is unethical to use tax payers’ money to use plastic flexes to print the huge photographs of Chief Minister and other ministers. Annually crores of rupees from the valuable budget resources are spent simply to print plastic hoardings. These hoardings with the larger than life size images of ministers do not serve any social, economic or political purpose. And the money spent on such flex can actually be used to beautify the cities and towns with more green cover and garden. There is an increasing concern among citizens how their money is used by the government and what difference every expenditure make to the quality of society or people.
2) The cumulative impact of tons and tons of plastic used in such flex hoarding will add to the environmental pollution and will affect the quality of life of the present and future generations.
3) Flex hoardings at traffic junctions distract the drivers and can increase the causes for accidents.
4) Flex hoarding also often occupy the foot path for the people and this in so many ways restrict the freedom of movement to the people.
5) Flex culture at every function of society also indicate vulgarisation of culture
6) Flex hoarding took away the jobs of thousands of artists at the grassroots level
7) Plastic Flex hoardings also decreased the use of cloths and handloom material- and this adversely affect the handloom sector.
Hence, we request you to take immediate decision and action to ensure the following:
1) A complete ban of the use of plastic hoardings to publicise government seminar/workshops etc and a decision to stop the practice of using government budgets to print the larger than life size images of all government officials, including ministers.
2) Ban the use of plastic flex hoardings in Kerala- and encourage the use of cloths in an appropriate manner, rather than aggressively promoting one or other programmes of government.
3) Announce designated places for cloth hoardings and impose a reasonable tax by the local government for using such spaces
4) Call a meeting of the leaders of all political parties and representatives of social and religious organisations to take a collective consensus to stop the use of plastic hoardings and flex in election campaigns or propaganda of political parties.
We would request you to kindly take a decision in the cabinet and stop the use of plastic hoardings and also set a good practice by the government not to use tax payer’s money for plastic hoardings and flex boards.
Look forward to have a positive response from you
On Behalf of Green and Clean Kerala Campaign