EcoWaste Coalition Saddened by Rampant Littering at Proclamation Rallies of Manila's Local Candidates

Aside from the “patutsadahan,” what do the proclamation rallies of former President Joseph Estrada and reelectionist Mayor Alfredo Lim have in common?

The answer: litter (and lots of them).

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-partisan environmental watchdog, expressed dismay over the unchecked littering that tainted the huge rallies of Estrada and Lim to kick off their heated campaign for the mayoralty post of Manila, the nation’s capital city.

Estrada’s rally at Liwasang Bonifacio on Easter Sunday and Lim’s rally yesterday at the Bonifacio Shrine were both marred by widespread breach of the ban against littering as enshrined in Republic Act 9003 (the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act), MMDA Regulation No. 99-006, and Manila City Ordinance 7404.

“We are saddened by the brazen violation of anti-littering laws in these two huge outdoor events as if political rallies are exempted from following them,” stated Aileen Lucero, Acting National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Was it too difficult for the rally organizers to take simple steps that would have prevented littering during their events like assigning eco-volunteers,  putting up waste receptacles and asking the program emcees to constantly remind the crowd not to leave any trash behind?”, she asked.

“Why pass the burden of cleaning up the littered sites to government-paid personnel, especially for activities of a partisan nature?,” she further asked. 

“We call upon the camps of both President Estrada and Mayor Lim not to add to Manila’s garbage woes and to ensure that their campaign activities do not trash the environment,” she emphasized.   

Based on their monitoring of the two proclamation rallies, the EcoWaste Coalition identified non-biodegradable food packaging materials, particularly polystyrene plastic containers, plastic cups and straws, plastic bags and plastic candy wrappers, as the most littered items.

The group also observed the large amounts of political propaganda materials scattered all over the rally sites, notably campaign leaflets and posters of individuals, as well as partly list groups, vying for elective positions.
To avoid the recurrence of such environmental lapses, the EcoWaste Coalition urged rally organizers to integrate waste prevention and reduction in their planning and preparatory work, including requiring participating delegations to designate a person/s who will ensure that their discards are properly managed and not littered or burned, and conducting immediate clean-up of the rally site after the event is over.

Aside from faithfully enforcing Republic Act 9003 in their campaign activities, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded all those running for the May 2013 polls to abide by the requirements of Republic Act 9006, or the Fair Election Act as elaborated in Comelec Resolution 9615 to lessen the environmental impact of their campaigning activities.

Under Comelec Resolution 9615, “parties and candidates are encouraged to use recyclable and environment-friendly materials and avoid those that contain hazardous chemicals and substances in the production of their campaign and election propaganda,” the EcoWaste Coalition noted.

The EcoWaste Coalition is a national network of more than 150 public interest groups pursuing sustainable and just solutions to waste, climate change and chemical issues towards the envisioned Zero Waste 2020 goal