The High Court of Bangladesh Wednesday ordered the authorities concerned to immediately stop production and display of laminated city election posters to save the environment.
The court also asked the authorities to properly dispose of the laminated posters which have already been produced and displayed.
The HC also issued a rule asking the respondents to explain in four weeks why they should not be directed to stop production and display of laminated posters across the country.
Environment and forest ministry secretary, LGRD secretary, health secretary, Election Commission and the chief executive officers of Dhaka north and south city corporations have been made respondents to the rule.
The High Court bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman issued a suo moto (voluntary) move in the wake of a report published in The Daily Star on Wednesday under the headline “Laminated posters in city polls: A big threat to the environment”.
Supreme Court lawyer Barrister Manoj Kumar Bhowmick placed the news report before the HC bench for necessary order.
He told the court that laminated posters are harmful to the environment and public health. Therefore, the production and display of such posters need to be stopped immediately.
The elections to two Dhaka city corporations are scheduled to be held on February 1. Ahead of the polls, candidates are conducting door-to-door campaigns and hanging a huge number of posters in their respective areas.
About 140 mayor and councillor candidates out of total 745 in their disclosure of election expenditures mentioned that they would print nearly 50 lakh posters.
Almost a week before the city polls campaign began, the HC directed the authorities concerned to ban single-use plastic products in coastal areas, hotels, motels and restaurants across the country in one year as those are hazardous to health and environment.
The plastic products include drinking straws, cotton buds, cigarette butts, food packaging, food containers, bottles, plates, plastic cutlery and plastic bags.
The HC bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman came up with the order following a writ petition jointly filed by 11 rights organisations, including Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), seeking necessary order.
The rights organisations submitted the writ petition as a public interest litigation on December 17 last year, mentioning the hazardous effects of plastic — particularly single-use plastics — on ecology, aquatic and marine life, soil fertility, agricultural production, human health and safety.
According to the Department of Environment (DoE), the country generates around 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day.