“As the campaign heads into the homestretch, we find the utter disrespect against Mother Earth becoming more blatant and widespread,” lamented Roy Alvarez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.
“The political ad bonanza is undeniably turning our streets and even the skies into instantaneous and uncontrolled dumpsites,” he pointed out.
The EcoWaste Coalition specifically bemoaned the way political candidates and their supporters have been desecrating trees with assorted campaign materials, pointing out that nails could damage and stress out trees.
“We are deeply saddened by the way trees are violated as if they do not matter,” noted Alvarez, who has planted over 50,000 tree saplings since 1997, particularly in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range.
Trees clean and provide us with breathable air. Trees store water and prevent soil erosion and floods. Trees serve as homes for other living organisms as well as provide shade, food, medicine, paper and fuel, among many other numerous benefits, Alvarez reminded the politicos.
Apart from trees festooned with campaign propaganda, the EcoWaste Coalition also expressed dismay over the brazen violation of other basic electoral and environmental regulations such as the littering of candidates’ promotional leaflets in campaign sorties, the use of smoky vehicles in motorcades, the hanging of posters and streamers on electric wires and posts or over walkways and sidewalks, and the use of oversized posters and billboards.
COMELEC National Capital Region Director Michael Dioneda recently stated that around 95 percent of local and national bets had disobeyed the guidelines on the posting of campaign materials, the EcoWaste Coalition said.
“We therefore beg the 50,000 candidates vying for nearly 18,000 national and local positions to stand for Mother Earth and put environmental conservation and protection at the heart of their campaign to win and to serve,” Alvarez said.
“We further dare all pro-environment candidates to show their genuine concern for the environment by voluntarily removing their campaign posters that are illegally nailed on trees or placed outside common poster areas and not wait for the government personnel to remove these for them,” he added.
“Also, we urge them to openly say and assure the public that they will remove all their campaign materials immediately after the election day regardless of the poll outcome,” he said.
The waste and pollution watchdog further appealed to all political hopefuls to abide by the “5 Rs” ( restrain, reduce, respect, retrieve and remove) of ecological campaigning that will prevent and cut wastefulness and the ensuing trash.
RESTRAIN from spending for political advertisements and other forms of election propaganda beyond the legal limits. Don’t cheat your way to victory by overspending.
REDUCE campaign trash by keeping the volume of materials to what is only necessary. Say no to materials that are hardly reused or recycled such as confetti, buntings, balloons and, yes, sample ballots come election day.
RESPECT the trees by not nailing or tying campaign materials on them. Nails hurt and kill trees. Please stick to common poster areas.
RETRIEVE campaign materials, particularly the widely-used tarpaulin banners, and repurpose them as roofing materials, school bags or as carry bags for relief goods. Make sure that spent materials do not get dumped or burned.
REMOVE election campaign materials immediately after the election day on May 10, 2010. Win or lose, bring your tarps down and scrape your posters off the walls.