A waste and pollution watchdog that has been tirelessly pushing for waste-free polls today made a last-ditch attempt to persuade the Filipino electorate to keep the polling precincts clear of trash.
“We appeal to all democracy-loving Filipinos not to litter as we exercise our right to suffrage and our right to participate in setting the course of our nation’s future. Let us not turn May 10 into a holiday for litterbugs,” said Eileen Sison of the EcoWaste Coalition.
“Keeping the polling places litter-free should be part and parcel of our common hope for a truly clean election that will not happen without the unity of everyone,” she added.
“A trash-free election day will be in accord with our country’s continuing war against wastefulness that is steadily wiping out our natural resource base, degrading our environment and harming the climate with pollutants,” pointed out Sison who is also the NGO representative to the National Solid Waste Management Commission.
The EcoWaste Coalition made the appeal as the Commission on Elections and other stakeholders brace themselves for the first ever automated election in the nation’s history, involving some 50 million registered voters.
The watchdog called to mind the tons of preventable litter created in the countless campaign sorties and rallies during the 90-day campaign period that will end today at midnight, describing the often ignored ban on littering as injurious to the environment, climate and the people themselves.
To illustrate the impact of wasting paper discards such as sample ballots and promotional materials, the EcoWaste Coalition cited data from the “A Recycling Revolution” (http://www.recycling-revolution.com/recycling-facts.html) showing that each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, and 7,000 gallons of water, representing a 64% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 pounds less of air pollution.
According to the same source, the 17 trees saved can absorb a total of 250 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year, adding that burning the same ton of paper would create 1,500 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Burning chlorine-containing campaign discards can also cause the formation and release of dioxins, the most toxic chemicals known to science, into the environment, the EcoWaste Coalition also stressed.
“As you can see, recycling paper discards will have tremendous benefits, so why litter and waste those sample ballots and leaflets and create preventable health and environmental pollutants,” Sison said.
The EcoWaste Coalition and the Miss Earth Foundation last May 4 launched a 3Rs (repurpose, reuse, recycle) drive to encourage the public, including the local government units, in finding creative and beneficial uses for campaign discards to ensure that they are not dumped or burned and add to the chemical pollution of the environment.
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