27 October 2013

EcoWaste Coalition Urges Voters to Observe Garbage-Free Election Day; Asks Candidates to Lead Post-Campaign Clean Up and Recycling

Quezon City. On the eve of this year’s Barangay Elections, an environmental group promoting Zero Waste pleaded with the voting public to keep schools and other polling places garbage-free.

“We appeal to all voters to avoid littering as they cast their votes tomorrow,” said Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Please be environmentally-responsible, shun littering and commit to a truly clean democracy that our nation can be proud of,” she urged voters.

One of the most common electoral and environmental offenses in previous elections is the shameless and unlawful distribution of sample ballots and other political propaganda materials during the Election Day.

To avoid a repeat of such offense, the EcoWaste Coalition urged voters to come to the polling precincts equipped with their own “kodiko” or list of bets to vote for, and refuse sample ballots that are illegally handed out to voters beyond the official campaign period.

In addition, the group appealed to local authorities and also to vendors to provide sufficient bins for proper waste management as the vicinity of polling places are often littered with discarded food containers, snack and candy wrappers, plastic and paper bags, as well as cigarette butts.

Littering is a clear violation of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which among others, prohibits throwing or dumping of waste matters in public places such as streets, sidewalks, parks and waterways. Violators upon conviction shall be fined between P300 to P1,000 or render community service from 1 to 15 days or both.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the barrage of post-election garbage, the EcoWaste Coalition appeals to all candidates and their supporters to immediately remove and recycle their campaign materials after voting day.

EcoWaste Coalition National Coordinator Aileen Lucero reminded all barangay candidates, regardless of their polling performance, to “remove your campaign posters and banners without delay and recycle those that can still be safely used.”

“We ask the Commission on Elections to oblige all barangay candidates to comply with their civic duty to conduct post-election clean-up, as both winners and losers tend to forget to take down their political advertisements,” Lucero added.

The group seeks the cooperation of the public in keeping all sorts of political discards that the candidates utilized throughout their campaign out of dump sites and landfills, at the same time warning people against recycling and burning campaign materials that may possibly contain toxic chemicals. The group reiterated that open burning and open dumping violate R.A. 9003 and pose serious health threats to workers and residents.

In particular, the EcoWaste Coalition cautioned the public against recycling campaign materials made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) such as tarpaulins for food packaging or for other uses involving young children as their chemical ingredients such as cadmium, lead and phthalates may leach and cause adverse health effects.

Furthermore, burning chlorinated campaign materials such as PVC tarpaulins is dangerous as this will cause the release of hazardous by-products, including dioxins, the most toxic of all man-made chemicals.

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