A local waste and pollution watchdog on Tuesday urged barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan candidates to keep the last few campaign days free of litter, plastic, and smoke.
“As the campaign enters its final stretch, we urge all candidates to find ways to lessen the environmental impact of their bid to garner votes,” Ochie Tolentino, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition said in a statement.
“Candidates and their supporters should see to it that activities during the remaining days of campaign will not disregard environmental laws, especially RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and related local ordinances,” she stressed.
“As the final rallies or ‘miting de avance’ are expected to draw large crowds, including beverage and food vendors, organizers should ensure that littering, an offense prohibited by RA 9003, is controlled and prevented,” Tolentino said. She also urged to keep rallies tobacco-free and vape-free, too.
“Please refrain from lighting firecrackers and fireworks, throwing confetti, using party poppers, or releasing balloons to cap your electoral campaign,” Tolentino added. “Aside from the resulting pollution, using them near overhead lines may cause power to trip or get interrupted.”
According to EcoWaste, candidates and their supporters should strictly abide by the ban on the distribution of sample ballots, which often end up being littered, particularly at the entrance of polling places and adjacent street.
“Children, or the elderly, should not be used to distribute sample ballots like we have seen in past elections,” the group said.
The group also cautioned candidates from using or giving away food and drinks served in styrofoam and other single-use plastics for the meals of poll watchers and other volunteers.
“Cut down on plastic bottles by advising your teammates to bring their water in reusable containers. Remind them also to use the segregated waste bins for their discards,” Tolentino said.
EcoWaste is also urging candidates to conduct post-campaign clean up the following day regardless of the poll results. This way, the group said candidates could reduce the volume of waste sent to disposal sites by recycling, reusing, or upcycling used or excess campaign materials.
“As plastic tarpaulins often contain hazardous chemicals like cadmium, lead, and phthalates, we do not recommend reusing or upcycling them as articles for children’s use or as packaging for food,” she added.
“Finally, please do away with wasteful ‘thank you’ tarpaulins. You can express your appreciation to the electorate and Mother Earth by performing your responsibilities as a public servant to the best of your ability, and by not engaging in corrupt and dirty politics,” Tolentino concluded.