It is currently campaign season in Nigeria as elections are around the corner and campaign posters are one of the most popular tools candidates use during rally’s to inform electorates about their message and identity. There is so much buzz in the country about who will win the presidential elections and as usual every corner is filled with campaign materials, especially Lagos, one of the largest commercial hubs in the country.
These posters although good for business have been found bad for the environment in many ways such as , littering, environmental degradation and aesthetic of public spaces. During the election period in Nigeria, posters and placards have been heavily incorporated into our political culture and as the forthcoming elections draws by, there is a heavy and ugly increase in these materials on our roads, streets and even houses causing a displeasing aesthetics to the environment. According to a study carried out in 2015, it was observed that the waste generated during elections, were generally abandoned and allowed to fade away over the course of time. Such materials become instruments of soaring and unabated environmental pollution, a breeding ground for disease vectors, blocked drainages that results to flooding, hindrance to free flow of traffic and hazards to road users.
In countries like The Philippines, the maximum amount of materials and sizes required for each candidate is stipulated and all candidates are required to indicate in their materials the phrase, “This material should be recycled”. Also, In the United States, digital billboards are encouraged to be used. Using digital billboard technology eliminates the waste generated by posters; the message on the board can be changed in minutes which give numerous candidates the opportunity to feature in strategic locations around the cities. These billboards will generate higher revenue for advertisement agency and create more jobs for the populace.
We understand that outright banning of the traditional means of campaign may be too harsh, but strict laws should be given by INEC to subsidize materials and other digital methods should be used. Also, INEC may take the initiative to clean up and properly dispose of the materials by putting in place machinery for cleaning up after the exercise