Presidential Aspirants Urged to Reject the 4th G: Garbage

Quezon City. It is not enough for the presidential bets in the 2010 elections to refuse the infamous “3 Gs” (guns, goons and gold). They also need to stand firm against the 4th “G” or garbage, the most obvious proof of dirty and stinking polls.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog, highlighted the need to push for eco-friendly democracy as 13 presidential and vice-presidential aspirants vowed last Sunday not to use the notorious “3 Gs” to win in the elections.

Among those who made the pledge at the “Eleksyon 2010: Tatakbo Ka Ba?” fun run sponsored by GMA 7 were environmentalist Nicanor Perlas, Olongapo City Councilor JC de los Reyes, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay, MMDA Chair Bayani Fernando, Jesus is Lord Bro. Eddie Villanueva, Senators Francis Escudero, Richard Gordon, Loren Legarda, Jamby Madrigal, Francis Pangilinan, Manuel Roxas II and Manuel Villar Jr., and former President Joseph Estrada.

“While we welcome their public declaration to work for clean, peaceful and honest polls, we urge all people aspiring to lead the country to also commit to a garbage-free campaign,” said Roy Alvarez, Steering Committee member of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“A commitment not to squander resources and create trash during the campaign period will be a barometer of how a candidate will perform as a leader in the face of the rising climate and environmental woes,” the environmentalist film actor said.

The anticipated surge in resource consumption and trash generation poses a huge challenge to the environment as politicians aggressively court for the votes of the electorate through the usual campaign leafleteering, sorties, motorcades and the like.

It is a common knowledge that election campaign waste adds to the already burgeoning garbage disposal crisis of the country.

“Although it is difficult to find hard data, nobody can dispute the fact that the typically heated campaign takes a heavy toll on the environment with the massive amount of resources consumed and discarded during the campaign period,” commented Eileen Sison, also of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“With just few months left before the deadline for the filing of candidacy and the official start of the election campaign period, we exhort all well-meaning candidates to think green, use resources judiciously and cut down on waste and pollution,” Sison said.

As part of the EcoWaste Coalition’s advocacy for resource conservation and climate protection, the group seeks the support of political parties, party list groups, poll watchdogs and all candidates for public office to affirm their support for eco-friendly polls.

The group has crafted 10-point guidelines to assist all election stakeholders in reducing and eliminate wasting in the 2010 elections by incorporating environmental and climate protection into the campaign platform and strategy.


10-Point Guidelines for Zero Waste 2010 Elections:

1. Create a lead team in the campaign machinery that will be tasked to prevent or reduce waste and pollution to the minimum in all campaign activities. Ensure that environmental and climate protection is integrated into the campaign platform and strategy.

2. Enforce zero tolerance on litter and pollution in all campaign meetings, sorties and related activities.

– Keep the campaign litter-free.

– Shun throwing confetti, exploding firecrackers or releasing balloons 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.

– Hire a local waste picker for the recycling of segregated discards.

– Clean up right after the campaign event.

3. Cut back on leaflets, pamphlets, posters, stickers, decals, sample ballots and other campaign paraphernalia. Ensure that materials for mass distribution carry a friendly reminder that says: “Para sa ating kalusugan at kalikasan, huwag pong ikalat, itambak o sunugin” or its equivalent in local languages.

4. Use post-consumer recycled paper for campaign materials to conserve trees and protect our forests, watersheds, and ecosystems. To make recycling easy, avoid using plastic-coated paper.

5. Stay away from campaign materials that are hardly reused or recycled such as confetti, buntings and balloons. These are often burned or discarded in storm drains, esteros, rivers, seas and dumps.

6. Avoid the use of tarpaulin banners and other plastic campaign materials. If tarpaulins cannot be avoided, make plans for their recycling into carry or utility bags after the campaign period. Explore the use of plasticless and paperless modern and interactive social media to inform and win votes.

7. Refrain from undertaking campaign motorcade that eats up lots of fossil fuels, discharges air pollutants and snarls traffic. Go for emission-free campaign by cycling or campaigning on foot.

8. Reject graffiti or vandalism, or the willful or malicious defacing or destruction of property.

9. Harm not the trees: don’t hang, stick or nail campaign materials on trees. Use designated common poster areas.

10. Win or lose — remove election campaign materials from all sites immediately after the election day on May 10, 2010.