An environmental watchdog group today called for deliberate efforts to keep illegal campaign propaganda materials for the May polls out of dumpsites by recycling or repurposing them.
The EcoWaste Coalition, a partner of the government-led “Basura-Free Elections” advocacy and the civil society-formed Green Thumb Coalition, stressed that candidates could help protect the environment from wastes and toxics by abiding by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Resolution 10049.
Through the said resolution, the Commission has directed, among other things, the removal of campaign materials outside authorized common poster areas and has consequently tapped the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) as lead agencies for the “Operation Baklas.”
“We ask concerned candidates not to wait for DPWH or MMDA personnel to remove their errant campaign materials,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“At the same time, we appeal to those who will take out unlawful materials such as tarpaulins to remove them with care so the same can be recycled or repurposed,” she added
“Repurposing or recycling tarps is a sure way of reducing the volume of campaign wastes that are burned, buried in dumpsites or thrown in waterways,” she said.
The group recalled that the MMDA collected some 70 tons of campaign materials during the 2013 mid-term elections that were either disposed of or recycled.
Tarpaulins, which are sturdier compared to other common campaign materials, can be repurposed for many useful, but non-food contact purposes, the EcoWaste Coalition said.
According to the group, discarded campaign tarpaulins can be made into bags, slipper or shoe organizers, seat covers or as tents for disaster evacuees.
Tarpaulins can also be used as canopies for homes and stores, or as awnings for tricycles and jeepneys.
Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition will mobilize its membership in taking photos of illegal campaign materials for submission to the COMELEC.
COMELEC Chairman Juan Andres Bautista had earlier urged the electorate to take pictures of non-compliant posters and get involved in the “shame campaign” to promote candidates’ compliance to the campaign regulations.