A waste and pollution watchdog asked local candidates for the May 9 polls to ensure that their proclamation rallies and other campaign activities are garbage-free.
The EcoWaste Coalition reiterated its push for eco-friendly campaigning activities after witnessing the unabashed littering at separate rallies held yesterday in Manila to proclaim the candidacy of re-electionist Mayor Joseph Estrada and former Mayor Alfredo Lim.
“We find the unchecked littering at public assemblies inexcusable,” stated Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition, a non-partisan group espousing waste prevention and reduction in the escalating electoral campaign.
“There is no justification for turning our parks and streets into dumping grounds. It’s totally unacceptable for us to litter even in the exercise of our democratic rights. It’s not right even if we know that street cleaners will pick up after us without complaining,” she pointed out.
“It’s not too late for well-meaning candidates to literally clean up their campaign sorties. They should use their moral influence to request their supporters to mind their garbage,” she added.
“The public should be constantly reminded not to drop any litter and every rally should end with a clean-up led by the candidates themselves,” she suggested.
At the rally held in Liwasang Bonifacio, orange-clad supporters of Estrada who came in droves littered the park with campaign leaflets, cardboard hand fans, plastic bottles, polystyrene food containers, fast food wrappers, snack packs and fish ball sticks.
“We found Styrofoam containers for dinner given to supporters scattered all over the place,” lamented Lucero.
Over at Plaza Miranda, some supporters of the Daang Matuwid Coalition in yellow shirts also littered the place with campaign materials.
“While not as ‘bad’ as the trashing of the bigger rally in Liwasang Bonifacio, it’s still littering and unacceptable just the same. The throwing of yellow confetti towards the end of the program only added to the mess,” Lucero said.
The EcoWaste Coalition urged all candidates and their camps to apply the following 5Rs towards eco-friendly campaigning:
1. REDUCE trash by not littering and not using campaign materials that are barely reused or recycled.
2. REFUSE overspending for campaign advertisements and materials.
3. RETRIEVE campaign paraphernalia for reusing or recycling purposes
4. RESPECT the trees by keeping them poster-free.
5. REMOVE election campaign materials immediately after the polling day.
The EcoWaste Coalition appealed to the Commission on Elections, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Department of Interior and Local Government to step up the drive for election trash reduction.
Dubbed as the “Basura-Free Election 2016,” the government-led drive seeks to promote compliance to Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, by all political parties and party list groups and their candidates and supporters in the course of the campaign