The Election Commission (EC) has decided that mayoral and councillor candidates will not be able to use plastic-laminated posters for campaigning in Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) polls.
The decision came at a meeting of election officials with the returning officer (RO) of CCC polls at his office on Sunday evening, said RO Md Hasanuzzaman.
"We took the decision considering that laminated posters and polythene are harmful for the environment," the RO said. "Besides, there is an order from the High Court to stop the production and display of such posters."
"Many candidates used laminated posters for their campaigns during the recently-held Dhaka city corporation polls but EC will not allow this practice in CCC polls," said Hasanuzzaman, also Chattogram regional election officer.
In response to a query, Hasanuzzaman said if any candidate violates the order, they will take necessary action as per the electoral code of conduct.
On February 16, the EC announced that CCC elections will take place on March 29.
Submission of aspirants' nomination papers will be accepted till Thursday, while the papers will be scrutinised by EC officials on March 1, according to the announcement.
Appeals against EC's scrutiny will have to be made between March 2 and 4, while decisions regarding the appeals will be made between March 5 and 7, it also read.
The last date for candidacy withdrawal is March 8, while candidates will be allotted election symbols on March 9.
Besides, the RO instructed mayoral aspirants and their supporters to remove all posters and banners pasted or hanged in the city in support of many probable candidates within midnight yesterday.
"Actions will be taken [against aspirants] as per the electoral code of conduct against those who would not comply with the instructions," he said.
CANDIDATES, ACTIVISTS ON BOARD
Praising the decision, Prof Sekandar Khan, president of Chattogram chapter of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan, told The Daily Star that laminated posters must be discouraged for the sake of protecting the environment.
"We have previously observed that most candidates don't dispose their laminated posters properly after the polls end, which has severe adverse effects on the environment. So, we welcome the decision," said Prof Sekandar, also vice chancellor of East Delta University.
Contacted, Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Awami League nominated mayoral candidate, also hailed the decision.
"We have been trying to protect the environment, and so, I welcome the decision," he said. "Laminated posters have been used for the last few years, but in polls held before that period, candidates used paper posters all the time."
Contacted, Shahadat Hossain, president of BNP Chattogram city unit, also welcomed the decision.
"It's a very good initiative," he said. "I'll follow the instruction if I'm nominated by my party to compete in the mayoral race."
Shahadat, however, said EC should allow candidates to use colour posters instead of black-and-white ones.
"The black-and-white posters cannot attract voters," he said. "Those posters aren't noticeable from far away."