Politicians Urged: Campaign Clean, Shun Garbage

14 January 2013, Quezon City.  With the start
of the election season last Sunday, an environmental watchdog dared all
political contenders to campaign clean sans the usual 4Gs of Philippine
politics: Guns, Goons, Gold and Garbage.

Particularly setting their sights on garbage, the EcoWaste Coalition called on
all political wannabes – from those running for local positions to those
aspiring to become congressional and party list representatives and senators –
to commit to “zero basura” election campaign.    

“This early, we appeal to politicians across the political spectrum to restrain
from engaging in dirty campaigning and to strive for an ecological ‘zero
basura’ outreach to the electorate.  We will call the attention
of candidates who will campaign dirty,” said Edwin Alejo, Coordinator,
EcoWaste Coalition.

“Through ‘zero basura,’ we hope to prevent and reduce waste and pollution from
the vigorous campaign operations and activities during the next three months
and avert the further degradation of our fragile environment,” he said.

“We also hope that candidates will come up with meaningful platforms
integrating sustainable solutions to the chronic garbage, toxic, disaster
and livelihood woes facing many of our communities, and not only shake hands,
hug babies, or sing and dance to amuse voters,” he added.

The group voiced its environmental plea ahead of the official campaign period
of February 12 to May 11 for senatorial and party-list candidates, and March 29
to May 11 for those vying for congressional and elective regional, provincial,
city and municipal posts.

To begin
with, the EcoWaste Coalition recommends that all those aspiring for
elective positions should designate a person or team in the
campaign machinery who will be responsible for greening the electoral
platforms, strategies and activities.

Candidates should refrain from using too much campaign materials such as
leaflets, pamphlets, posters, stickers, decals, and plastic and tarpaulin

Propaganda materials should be in post-consumer recycled paper and carry a
friendly reminder that says “para sa ating kalusugan at kalikasan, huwag
pong ikalat, itambak o sunugin”
or its equivalent in local languages.

Candidates should refrain from using campaign materials that are hardly reused
or recycled such as confetti, buntings and balloons, which often get
burned or discarded in waterways, seas and dump sites.  Candidates and
their supporters should not light sky lanterns as this may cause
fire and endanger wildlife, too.

Trees don’t vote; politicos should spare the trees of propaganda materials
that can harm and even kill them.  Candidates should reject
graffiti or vandalism to popularize their names.

For litter-free campaign meetings, sorties and related activities, the EcoWaste
Coalition recommends the following:

• Shun throwing confetti, exploding firecrackers or releasing balloons and sky
lanterns in campaign events.

• Refrain from using Styrofoam, plastic bags and other single-use containers
for volunteers’ meals and drinks.

• Set up segregated waste bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable discards
in campaign assemblies.

• Designate “eco-volunteers” to look after the bins and guide the public in the
proper separation of their discards.

• Clean up right after the campaign event.

• Hire eco-aides to handle the segregated wastes for recycling and composting.

Win or lose, the EcoWaste Coalition urged
candidates to remove election campaign materials from all sites immediately
after the election day on 13 May 2013.