Colombo, Nov 2 (IANS): The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party, headed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has launched the world’s first environment friendly election campaign by setting up a system that will measure carbon emission released from vehicles used during campaigning, a media report said on Saturday.
Under this programme, the total carbon released to the atmosphere from all vehicles bringing politicians, security officials, and supporters to rallies will be diligently recorded and trees will also be planted in every district to offset carbon emission, the Daily Financial Times said in the report.
The gathered data will be scientifically analysed and quantified by specialists who will translate it into the number of trees to be planted and looked after for the next 15 to 20 years.
Addressing the media here on Friday, Sri Jayawardenapura University’s senior Professor Hemanthi Ranasinghe said said the SLPP’s carbon-sensitive election campaign had been successfully implemented in Anuradhapura, Gampaha, Galle and Kurunegala districts.
The people in these districts have voluntarily participated in the programme by planting trees in their gardens, religious places, parks, and alongside roads, she added.
The Sri Lanka Customs former Deputy Director Samantha Gunasekara said some other countries like Bangladesh had environmental friendly election campaigns but no nation has so far implemented a campaign to reduce carbon footprint.
“We have organised a team to collect data on how many vehicles come for the campaign, the distance they cover, number of people, the kinds of vehicles like buses, lorries, tractors, bikes, cars and vans and the electricity that used during the political rallies to calculate carbon emission,” he said,
Gunasekara said 80 kg of PET bottles had been collected after the SLPP’s maiden rally held in Anuradhapura, and the bottles were already handed over to a private company to recycle.
“Our aim is to win the election and the environment as well,” he added.
Meanwhile, SLPP Secretary Darshini Lahandapura said that they were ready to help other political parties to help plan similar eco-friendly election campaigns, the Daily Financial Times reported.
She added that SLPP Chairman and presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa has “instructed us to discourage the use of polythene and plastics during his political campaign”.
Sri Lanka will go to the polls on November 16 to elect a new President. A total of 35 candidates are in the fray.