A waste and pollution watchdog dared poll candidates to go out of the streets on May 10 and take the lead in removing campaign materials and salvaging whatever can be reused, repurposed or recycled.
“Candidates must show their sense of environmental responsibility and sportsmanship by taking the initiative of clearing the streets of campaign materials regardless of the poll results,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We appeal to all candidates and their supporters to dedicate May 10 for the much-needed post-campaign clean-up,” she pleaded.
“Cleaning up after the ruthless and wasteful electoral campaign is a good way to put the political bitterness behind us and usher in peace and reconciliation, especially among divided families and communities,” she noted.
While pushing for immediate post-campaign clean-up, the EcoWaste Coalition cautioned the candidates and their throng of volunteers, as well as government cleaners, against the polluting practice of dumping or burning the discarded materials.
Open dumping and open burning, which are unlawful under R.A. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, will only turn a largely solid waste problem into a chemical problem, the group warned.
Both open dumping and open burning can lead to the discharge of nasty chemical pollutants into the air, water and soil, which can harm human health and the environment, the group said.
Burning chlorinated materials such as plastic campaign posters will cause the formation and release of health-damaging dioxins and furans, which are among the most toxic man-made chemical poisons, the group warned.
Instead of dumping or burning the removed campaign materials, the EcoWaste Coalition urged post-campaign clean-up participants to properly sort discarded materials and to reuse, repurpose or sell them to junk shops.
Also, the group discouraged winning or losing candidates to refrain from putting up “thank you” tarpaulins to express their gratitude to the voting public.
“Please don’t add further to the post-election trash with your ‘thank you’ tarps. As an alternative, we enjoin politicians to conduct neighbourhood clean-up activities as a way of thanking their constituents,” Lucero said.
“We also ask poll winners to be magnanimous in success and refrain from engaging in provocative post-election activities such as victory motorcades and rallies, which can further stir political discord while creating more waste and pollution,” she added.
Next Tuesday, the EcoWaste Coalition will organize a post-campaign clean-up drive in Quezon City in cooperation with local authorities and groups.