30 October 2018, Quezon City. A waste and pollution watch group appealed to national and local politicians running for public office in the 2019 elections not to drown cemeteries and adjacent communities with propaganda leaflets and tarpaulins.
“We urge all candidates not to use the cemeteries and the roads leading to their gates as a ‘common poster area’ to publicize their names and faces,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
Poll candidates are usually tempted to take advantage of the popular observance of Undas to make themselves known to citizens who swarm the cemeteries to gain some political mileage.
“People go to cemeteries to offer flowers and prayers for their departed loved ones, and not to be bombarded with all sorts of political propaganda. No campaigning in cemeteries please,” Lucero said.
“Cemetery administrators should ban the distribution of leaflets, commercial or political, as well as the hanging of tarpaulins, including greetings and reminders, from politicians to shield Undas from partisan politics,” she proposed.
“Local government authorities should likewise disallow the display of tarpaulins bearing ‘happy halloween’ and ‘have a safe Undas” messages from politicians on the streets leading to the cemetery entry points,” she added.
The nailing of tarpaulins on trees, in particular, should be forbidden as this can harm trees. “Please spare trees of all types of tarpaulin announcements,” she pleaded.
Leaflets and tarpaulins, according to the EcoWaste Coalition, only add to the cemetery mess that blemishes the time-honored observance of Undas.
The group also expressed its concern over the presence of hazardous substances such as cadmium and lead in tarpaulins that are usually made out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic.
“These tarpaulins will end up as garbage sooner or later. And these are not your ordinary garbage due to their toxic content,” Lucero said.
Tarpaulins are not biodegradable and will take a very long time to degrade in dumpsites and landfills, releasing their toxic additives in the process, the EcoWaste Coalition said.
Burning these plastic materials will also be problematic as this will result in the formation of extremely toxic dioxins that can contaminate the environment and harm human health, the group warned.