The campaigning for Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) runs throughout August and September every year. However, these campaigns are not eco-friendly in the least, let us see how.
The student politics at the University of Delhi (DU) is a microcosm of our country’s political scenario. With examples like Arun Jaitley, former Union Finance Minister who was the DUSU President in 1973, student politicians at DU believe that they can be the ‘leaders of tomorrow’. Unfortunately, these ‘leaders of tomorrow’ are unaware of the amount of waste produced by them during political campaigning.
While walking through the streets of North Campus during campaigning months, one will come face-to-face with pamphlets, flyers, posters, brochures, and press invites littered on the roads. Students with political affiliations throw these posters out of their cars to ‘promote’ their leaders. Colleges like College of Vocational Studies, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, and Sri Venkateswara College in the South Campus, which are affiliated to the DUSU, also bear the brunt of such hooliganism.
During the 2015 DUSU elections, as reported by The Hindu, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued a notice to the Centre, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and the University Grants Commission (UGC) on the huge amount of paper being wasted in campaigning. Similarly in 2017, as reported by Firstpost, in an article titled “In North Campus, Student Bodies kick Swachh Bharat Abhiyan out of the Window”, Delhi High Court and the NGT expressed their shock over the massive misuse of pamphlets, flyers, and posters during the DUSU elections.
Since then, certain walls in the Campus were designated as the ‘Walls of Democracy’ where one was allowed to paste as many election-related posters as they wanted. But, even the 2018 elections saw the brunt of major exploitation of paper to an extent that the then sitting President, Rocky Tuseed, carried out a cleaning drive and removed the posters from near the Vishwavidyalaya metro station.
Despite being condemned over the years for their excessive use of paper in printing pamphlets, brochures, cards, and invites, the DUSU elections continue to be a hub of ecological hazard, producing extensive amounts of paper waste and littering the whole of North Campus by sticking posters on walls and littering flyers on the roads. Chhatra Marg still remains the most affected where a week before elections, we can see posters and pamphlets in every corner and niche.
As decoded by ScoopWhoop Unscripted in their video titled “How to Win a DUSU Election”, “the posters are simple and cheap; you can see it stuck on walls all over Delhi, that’s when you know that the Delhi University Elections are here.” One would believe that posters become a cheap method of promoting a campaign, inviting the masses to events organised by a particular party, and facilitate mobilisation. But, the aforementioned video revealed that INR five to six lakhs are spent in the printing process.
On the other hand, the Lyngdoh Committee, set up in 2006, only allows a small budget of INR 5,000 for campaigning and election-related activities. It also states that only handmade posters are to be used for canvassing and campaigning.
Hence, the huge waste of paper in DUSU elections is not only ethically and morally wrong, but it is also illegal.
Jaishree, a third-year student from Ramjas College pursuing B.A. (Honours) History, stated, “Nothing has changed here in the last three years, the walls are still decorated with multiple posters of the same candidate, underneath it lie decaying posters of yesteryear candidates. The heaps of garbage that the karamchaaris are made to clean every day is alarming. With climate change upon us, you’d really think that candidates would give a damn about the environment, but no.”
Feature Image Credits: Prabhanu Kumar Das