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.

2 Responses

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  1. Manisha said, on July 7, 2014 at 10:54 am

    You are absolutely correct. This is one reason why the city looks ‘littered’ more than it is. Huge hoardings find place anywhere and crop up at any corner. Even if we ignore aesthetics ( though we should not), basic hygiene for city life is not maintained. There are huge banners blocking signals and some ‘shubhechhuk’ ads encroaching on footpaths.
    I am sure there must be rules and regulations. Are there any civic societies/NGOs working for this cause?

  2. Sudhir Sharma said, on July 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    yesterday at Pune station I was wondering about this very question. Station has tons of back lit boxes with lot of colours and information. They form such a clutter that you can not figure out time, and signs saying which platform is this and where is what. moreover i doubt if anyone ever reads and follows what is advertised.
    In that sense it shows a very poor sense of marketing of that product..they are just wasting money.

    Advertising does not work by creating clutter..it works by breaking clutter.

    Sudhir Sharma


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