Candidates Told: “Don’t Harm the Environment”

Quezon City. As the election campaign heats up, a waste and pollution watchdog today asked politicos, with the backing of a green prelate, not to trash Mother Earth as they woo the electorate to vote for them on 10 May 2010.

The EcoWaste Coalition appealed to all political aspirants to restrain themselves from wasting too much resources and from exacerbating the country’s garbage and pollution problems with environmentally-reckless campaigning.

“We urge all local as well as national candidates who are promising to lead the country to a new era of socio-economic, political and ecological renewal to seek voters’ support without harming the environment,” said Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition.

The EcoWaste Coalition cited several “bad” campaign practices that are damaging to the environment such as nailing propaganda materials on trees, using excessive amount of campaign resources, exploding firecrackers in miting de avance, feeding campaign supporters in Styrofoam and littering campaign venues with trash.

The group’s drive for environmentally-sound poll campaign has drawn the support of Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, Jr. who implored the candidates to “care for Mother Earth.”

“A clean and green campaign will minimize the environmental costs of the 2010 polls as well demonstrate the candidates’ commitment to ecological governance and to a sustainable development path for our people and society,” said Bishop Iñiguez.

“Please heed the call of the EcoWaste Coalition for a clean and green campaign, forge a compact with your fellow candidates and show the people that you truly care for Mother Earth,” stated Bishop Iñiguez, who also heads the Public Affairs Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

To assist candidates, political parties and party-list groups campaign in a non-wasteful way, the EcoWaste Coalition has come up with practical guidelines for a ‘clean and green’ campaign.

To get started, the EcoWaste Coalition proposes that all those running for May 2010 polls should assign a person or team in the campaign structure who will be responsible for greening the campaign strategies and activities.

Candidates should refrain from using excessive campaign materials such as leaflets, pamphlets, posters, stickers, decals, cloth and tarpaulin streamers, and other campaign paraphernalia.

As much as possible, 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 dumpsites.

Politicos should spare the trees of propaganda materials that can harm and even kill them, and reject graffiti or vandalism to popularize themselves.

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

• 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.

• Clean up right after the campaign event.

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

The EcoWaste Coalition in May 2009 launched a campaign for Zero Waste polls with the support of COMELEC Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Armand Velasco and Leonard Leonida, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Caloocan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. and the Miss Earth