Thursday, September 30, 2010

“Be kind to the environment”

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

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.


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