As the synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections get underway, a waste and pollution watchdog reiterated its appeal to the electorate to keep the polling places litter-free, as well as smoke-free.
“The schools where most of the polling precincts are located should be free from garbage and tobacco pollution. We therefore urge the public not to pollute the school environment with litter and smoke,” stated Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We have to issue this last-minute reminder after finding sample ballots and other campaign materials scattered in some polling places in Makati and Manila, especially at the school entrance,” he said.
“In one school in Manila, we even find supporters of some candidates smoking inside the school compound,” he added.
“With voting to continue until 3:00 pm, school heads can still do something to ensure full observance of their ‘no littering,’ ‘no smoking’ policy. The least they can do is to grab the microphone and make the necessary public announcement against dropping litter and smoking within the school facilities,” he said.
The group also appealed to the members of the electoral board, poll watchers, poll volunteers, and other election stakeholders to be mindful of their discards.
“Kindly put your discards into their dedicated receptacles. Most schools will have segregated waste bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable discards.
Please use them properly and do not simply leave your beverage and food containers and leftovers inside the polling areas,” Alejandre said.
The EcoWaste Coalition noted that the Department of Education has promulgated policies towards the promotion of litter-free and tobacco-free schools.
Under DepEd Order No. 5, series of 2014, schools are enjoined to conduct activities that will enforce the prohibition on littering and burning of wastes as per Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
DepEd Order No. 48, series of 2016, on the other hand, reiterates the smoking ban in school premises, as well as compliance monitoring of tobacco control measures for stores outside the schools.
Note: The EcoWaste Coalition today had the chance of visiting the Fernando Ma. Guerrero Elementary School (Pedro Gil St., Manila), Margarita Roxas de Ayala Elementary School (A. Francisco St., Manila), Villamor High School (Pasig Line, Manila), Francisco Benitez Elementary School (Visita St., Makati) and the JoseMagsaysay Elementary School (Constancia St., Makati).