The waste and pollution watch group, EcoWaste Coalition, today reiterated its appeal to politicians running for the May 2019 midterm polls to refrain from prematurely campaigning during the feast of the Black Nazarene.
The group, which is pushing for a trash-less Traslacion, has noted the emergence of more “happy fiesta” and “happy new year” tarpaulins from national and local politicians in Quiapo district and along the processional route.
“Tarpaulins bearing the names and faces of various politicos have sprouted all over Quiapo. We even saw a huge billboard of a senatorial wannabe atop a building. At Liwasang Bonifacio, we saw posters of another senatorial bet nailed or stapled on trees,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“It’s really tempting for candidates to make use of the huge feast, which is expected to attract millions of people of voting age, to gain support for their political ambitions. We hope these candidates will restrain themselves and their backers from engaging in premature campaigning and let the focus of the occasion be on the Lord Nazarene,” he said.
The EcoWaste Coalition and the Commission on Elections had earlier urged political aspirants “to honor the sanctity of the Traslacion” and to avoid putting up banners and posters, as well as distributing leaflets and other campaign materials.
Premature campaigning, the EcoWaste Coalition warned, will only worsen the habitual littering that has tainted the annual re-enactment of the Traslacion in the past.
In fact, some 385 tons of mixed garbage were hauled from Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park to the Quiapo district during the Traslacion in 2018, and 341 tons were collected in 2017, according to the Manila City Government
In addition, the EcoWaste Coalition is concerned about the disposal of tarpaulins, which are often made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, are laden with toxic chemical additives such as cadmium and lead, and are often disposed of in dumps and landfills.
For poll candidates who could not resist the temptation of making their presence felt during the Black Nazarene feast, the EcoWaste Coalition made these two suggestions:
1. For such candidates to offer food and water to the devotees in reusable containers (not in single-use plastic and polystyrene disposables), which should be retrieved, washed and reused.
2. For such candidates to support the deployment of volunteers along the processional route to help with the anti-littering drive and clean-up.
Tomorrow, Monday morning, the EcoWaste Coalition, together with church and community groups, will stage an event in front of Quiapo Church to drum up support for a trash-less Traslacion.