People urged to clean up ‘election trash’ after 2019 polls

Trash and campaign materials of candidates seen outside Rosauro Almario Elementary School in Tondo, Manila. | Philstar.com photo by Edd Gumban

Environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition implored candidates as well as the public to help clean up the remnants of the campaign season days after the 2019 Philippine midterm elections.

Aileen Lucero, the national coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition, said: “Regardless of the outcome of your election bid, we appeal to all candidates and parties to take down your campaign materials without delay. Kabit, sabit o dikit mo, tanggal mo (If you posted it, you should remove it).”

Echoing her sentiments, Department of the Interior Local and Government Secretary Eduardo Año encouraged local government units and candidates to start with their own circles and conduct cleanup drives across the country.

“Tapos na po ang halalan at nakapili na ang mga mamamayan kung sino sa palagay nila ang karapat-dapat na magsagwan sa kanila tungo sa tunay na pagbabago (Elections are over and the people have chosen who they think should lead them toward change)Win or lose, show that you are a good sport and that you have the best intentions for your communities by being part of the clean-up drive in your areas,” Año said.

He also stated that candidates, elected or not, should show their commitment to conserve and improve their communities by helping clean up the waste produced during the elections.

“Ipakita natin na masinop at may disiplina tayong mga Pilipino. Alisin na natin ang anumang bahid ng katatapos na eleksiyon at magsimula tayo n ang malinis ang ating kapaligiran at malinis ang ating hangarin sa paglilingkod (Let’s show that we Filipinos are neat and disciplined. Let’s remove all traces of the recently concluded elections and start with a clean desire and environment to serve),” Año added.

Ecowaste Coalition also suggested exercising upcycling of elections campaign materials aside from conducting cleanup drives. Some of its benefits include decreased garbage volume, lowered disposal cost, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, conservation of resources, cleaner surroundings, and an enhanced environmental awareness.

“Upcycling, or the creative reuse of discards, is a practical way of saving resources from being burned or sent to the dumps and landfills for disposal,” Lucero said.

The environmental watchdog listed down possible ways to upcycle campaign materials like repurposing paper-based campaign materials into bookmarks, envelopes, folders, drawing pads, memo pads, name plates, and scrap books; meanwhile, tarpaulins used can be turned into bags or cases for pencils and mobile phones.

With the amount of trash produced during the elections, EcoWaste Coalition called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to think of long-term solutions like upgrading existing rules to lessen the use of materials that are toxic and are difficult to reuse or recycle.

Año emphasized that post-election trash should immediately be cleaned as it might clog canals and waterways and may later cause flooding.

“Mas magiging malala ang sitwasyon kapag umulan dahil siguradong magdudulot ng baha ang basurang ikinalat natin kaya kumilos na agad tayo (The situation might become worse during rainy seasons, as scattered waste will definitely cause floods. Immediate action should be done),” he said. 

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