Amit Paranjape’s Blog

The growing epidemic of illegal banners and hoardings in our cities

Posted in Current Affairs, Pune by Amit Paranjape on July 6, 2014

We often don’t realize this (or consider it to be a minor irritant), but ‘Illegal Signage Pollution’ is a BIG problem in our cities and towns! It is not just an issue of aesthetics (which is important), but also a representation of disregard for law, lack of enforcement and sycophancy culture. This attitude and culture reflects in other walks of life as well. Hence it is important to focus on the ‘visible’ aspects of it. Often, even the legal political banners & hoardings are ‘surrogate’ ads (of course, sometimes they are direct and blatant). Thanks to improvement in flex-printing, these banners can be produced quickly and efficiently…which adds to the problem.

We need some ways to control this. Cities look much better when they are free of these banners during election code of conduct. We need some form of such code (for banners) all year-round. The local authorities need to take up action against the illegal banners/flexes as a top priority. Citizens need to file complaints and regularly follow up with the authorities regarding this, and keep up the pressure. (Especially since, civic authorities could at times be reluctant to act against the banners of their political bosses!).

Even commercial legal ad hoardings in our cities are out of control. Wonder how so many get ‘permissions’! Cities need to limit these as well. Cities like Paris are ultimate ideal role models (hardly any banners/ads), but even the ‘ad/marketing’ capital: U.S. has less public ads in cities! We in India have a long way to get there, but we should start taking small steps in this direction.

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