EcoWaste Coalition Saddened by Rampant Littering at Proclamation Rallies of Manila’s Local Candidates

Aside from the “patutsadahan,” what do the
proclamation rallies of former President Joseph Estrada and reelectionist Mayor
Alfredo Lim have in common?

The answer: litter (and lots of them).

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-partisan environmental
watchdog, expressed dismay over the unchecked littering that tainted the huge rallies
of Estrada and Lim to kick off their heated campaign for the mayoralty post of
Manila, the nation’s capital city.

Estrada’s rally at Liwasang Bonifacio on Easter Sunday and Lim’s rally yesterday
at the Bonifacio Shrine were both marred by widespread breach of the ban against
littering as enshrined in Republic Act 9003 (the Ecological Solid Waste
Management Act), MMDA Regulation No. 99-006, and Manila City Ordinance 7404.

“We are saddened by the brazen violation of anti-littering laws in these two
huge outdoor events as if political rallies are exempted from following them,”
stated Aileen Lucero, Acting National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Was it too difficult for the rally organizers to take simple steps that would
have prevented littering during their events like assigning eco-volunteers,  putting up waste receptacles and asking the program
emcees to constantly remind the crowd not to leave any trash behind?”, she

“Why pass the burden of cleaning up the littered sites to government-paid
personnel, especially for activities of a partisan nature?,” she further

“We call upon the camps of both President Estrada and Mayor Lim not to add to
Manila’s garbage woes and to ensure that their campaign activities do not trash
the environment,” she emphasized.   

Based on their monitoring of the two proclamation rallies, the EcoWaste
Coalition identified non-biodegradable food packaging materials, particularly
polystyrene plastic containers, plastic cups and straws, plastic bags and plastic
candy wrappers, as the most littered items.

The group also observed the large amounts of political propaganda materials
scattered all over the rally sites, notably campaign leaflets and posters of
individuals, as well as partly list groups, vying for elective positions.

To avoid the recurrence of such environmental lapses, the
EcoWaste Coalition urged rally organizers to integrate waste prevention and
reduction in their planning and preparatory work, including requiring
participating delegations to designate a person/s who will ensure that their
discards are properly managed and not littered or burned, and conducting
immediate clean-up of the rally site after the event is over.

Aside from faithfully enforcing Republic Act 9003 in their campaign activities,
the EcoWaste Coalition reminded all those running for the May 2013 polls to abide
by the requirements of Republic Act 9006, or the Fair Election Act as
elaborated in Comelec Resolution 9615 to lessen the environmental impact of
their campaigning activities.

Under Comelec Resolution 9615, “parties and candidates are encouraged to use
recyclable and environment-friendly materials and avoid those that contain
hazardous chemicals and substances in the production of their campaign and
election propaganda,” the EcoWaste Coalition noted.

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