24 October 2023, Quezon City. With the official campaign period about to conclude this Saturday, October 28, the waste and pollution watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition again reminded aspirants for elective Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan posts to keep their activities free of litter, plastic and smoke.
“As the campaign enters its final stretch, we urge all candidates to find ways to lessen the environmental impact of their bid to garner votes,” said Ochie Tolentino, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. “Please do something to cut campaign waste and pollution to the minimum.”
“Candidates and their supporters should see to it that activities during the remaining days of campaigning will not disregard environmental laws, especially RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and related local ordinances,” she emphasized.
“As the final rallies or miting de avance are expected to draw a large crowd, including beverage and food vendors, organizers should ensure that littering, an offense prohibited by RA 9003, is controlled and prevented,” she said. “Please keep your rallies tobacco-free and vape-free, too.”
“Please refrain from lighting firecrackers and fireworks, throwing confetti, using party poppers or releasing balloons to cap your electoral campaign,” she added. “Aside from the resulting pollution, using them near overhead lines may cause power to trip or get interrupted.”
“Come election day, candidates and their supporters should strictly abide by the ban on the distribution of sample ballots, which often end up being littered, particularly at the entrance of polling places and adjacent streets,” she said. “Children, or the elderly, should not be used to distribute sample ballots like we have seen in past elections.”
“Also, please avoid using Styrofoam and other single-use plastics for the meals of your poll watchers and other volunteers. Cut down on plastic bottles by advising your teammates to bring their own water in reusable containers,” Tolentino said. “Remind them also to use the segregated waste bins for their discards.”
“Conduct post-campaign clean-up the following day regardless of the poll results. Candidates can reduce the volume of waste sent to disposal sites by recycling, reusing or upcycling used or excess campaign materials,” she suggested.
“As plastic tarpaulins often contain hazardous chemicals like cadmium, lead and phthalates, we do not recommend reusing or upcycling them as articles for children’s use or as packaging for food,” she added.
“Finally, please do away with wasteful ‘thank you’ tarpaulins. You can express your appreciation to the electorate and Mother Earth by performing your responsibilities as a public servant to the best of your ability, and by not engaging in corrupt and dirty politics,” Tolentino concluded.