EcoWaste Coalition Challenges Poll Bets to Conduct Cleanup Immediately After the Election Day, Proposes May 14 as “Cleanup and Recycling Day”

An environmental network dares candidates for national and local elective posts to go out of the streets on May 14 to lead the removal of campaign materials not simply to dispose of them, but to retrieve whatever can be recycled.

The EcoWaste Coalition posed the challenge to all candidates as the official campaign period for the May 13 mid-term polls wraps on May 11.

“Win or lose, we call upon all candidates and their supporters to remove and recycle their campaign materials immediately after voting day,” said Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Voluntarily making May 14 as a cleanup and recycling day is the best way of finishing off a good fight, the nicest way of saying ‘thank you’ to the electorate, and the quickest way of putting the politically divisive campaign behind us,” she said.

“Cleanup participants should as much as possible retrieve and sort the voluminous campaign discards for recycling.  The dumping and burning discards are a big no-no in ecological cleanup,” she stressed.

Citing information from junk shops, Vergara said that assorted paper posters, leaflets and sample ballots can be sold for P1 to P1.50 per kilo, and P1.50 to P5 per kilo for tarpaulins.

While most of the paper discards can be safely reused, Vergara cautions against recycling of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tarpaulins for food packaging or for other uses involving young children as their chemical ingredients such as cadmium, lead and phthalates may leach and cause adverse health effects.  

She also warned against burning chlorinated campaign materials, particularly PVC tarpaulins, as this will lead to the formation and release of hazardous substances such as dioxins, the most toxic of all man-made chemicals.  

NGO Representative to the National Solid Waste Management Commission Romeo Hidalgo also sought public cooperation in keeping election campaign materials out of disposal sites.
“It is imperative that these materials are not burned or hauled into the dumpsites or landfills, which are already bursting at the seams,” Hidalgo added.

Hidalgo appealed to the public to practice the 3Rs (repurpose, reuse and recycle) to avoid further generating garbage and polluting communities where disposal sites are located.

The 3Rs, Hidalgo pointed out, will decrease 1) the volume of garbage, 2) the expenses for waste collection and disposal, 3) the demand for virgin raw materials, 3) the pollution from the processing and manufacturing processes, and 3) the deforestation with the recycling of paper.

He further said that the 3Rs will increase 1) the public awareness and participation in environmental action, 2) the activities for resource conservation, and 3)  the creation of jobs, especially if done on a wider scale.

The EcoWaste Coalition is a national network of more than 150 public interest groups pursuing sustainable and just solutions to waste, climate change and chemical issues towards the envisioned Zero Waste 2020 goal.