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"Be kind to the environment" — EcoWaste group tells bets in the Oct. 25 barangay, SK polls

MANILA, Sept. 29 — A waste and pollution watchdog on Wednesday asked candidates to minimize the environmental costs of the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections on October 25 by campaigning with the welfare of Mother Earth in mind.

The EcoWaste Coalition exhorted all citizens seeking elective posts in the country’s over 42,000 barangays not to repeat the environmental lapses of the May 10 elections as they court community voters.

“We appeal to all aspiring public servants to restrain from wasting too much resources and creating too much garbage as they woo the electorate in their respective constituencies,” said Roy Alvarez, president of EcoWaste Coalition.

“Let us not forget the wastefulness of the May 2010 local and national elections and together aim for an environmentally-responsible exercise of our right to suffrage,” he emphasized.

“As potential leaders in the frontline of public service, we expect all the candidates to demonstrate their commitment to protect and preserve the community environment by campaigning 'clean and green’,” he added.

Some of the major environmental lapses of the May 2010 polls, the EcoWaste Coalition said, included the nailing of campaign materials on trees and other places prohibited by the Commission on Elections, wasting too much campaign funds and materials, driving smoke-belching campaign vehicles, blasting extremely loud political jingles and speeches, leaving trash in campaign sorties and not removing campaign items after the polls.

"Another major, major shortcoming that we have observed was the failure on the part of most politicians to integrate the environmental agenda into their campaign platforms and pledges," the EcoWaste Coalition added.

To assist the candidates in campaigning in a non-wasteful way, the EcoWaste Coalition re-issued its practical guidelines for a ‘clean and green’ campaign.

To get started, the EcoWaste Coalition proposes that all those running or the October 2010 polls should assign a person or team in the campaign structure who will be responsible for greening the campaign strategies and activities.

Candidates should refrain from using excessive campaign materials such as leaflets, pamphlets, posters, stickers, decals, cloth and tarpaulin streamers, and other campaign paraphernalia.

As much as possible, propaganda materials should be in post-consumer recycled paper and carry a friendly reminder that says “para sa ating kalusugan at kalikasan, huwag pong ikalat, itambak o sunugin” or its equivalent in local languages.

Candidates should refrain from using campaign materials that are hardly reused or recycled such as confetti, buntings and balloons, which often get burned or discarded in waterways, seas and dumpsites.

Politicos should spare the trees of propaganda materials that can harm and even kill them, and reject graffiti or vandalism to popularize themselves.

For litter-free campaign meetings, sorties and related activities, the EcoWaste Coalition recommends the following:

• Shun throwing confetti, exploding firecrackers or releasing balloons in campaign events.

• Refrain from using styrofoam, plastic bags and other single-use containers for volunteers’ meals and drinks.

• Set up segregated waste bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable discards in campaign assemblies.

• Designate “eco-volunteers” to look after the bins and guide the public in the proper separation of their discards.

• Clean up right after the campaign event.

• Hire eco-aides to handle the segregated wastes for recycling and composting.

“We hope that all candidates will heed this urgent call for environmental leadership and action by campaigning ‘clean and green’ and by putting environmental conservation and protection at the core of their platforms to serve," the EcoWaste Coalition said.(PNA)

vcs/PR/mec

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