Philippine elections and the environment

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The efforts of the Eco-Waste Coalition to make the political parties and candidates responsible for the environment must be lauded and emulated. No group has beat their brains to address the problem of post-elections trash but this coalition. (I understand that Cardinal Rosales is behind this undertaking.)

The Coalition has come up with a document entitled “Halalang Walang Basura: 10-Point Guidelines for the Political Parties and Candidates to Prevent and Reduce Campaign Waste”. The guidelines read as follows:

  1. Designate a lead team for the no-waste campaign;
  2. Target zero tolerance in all campaign meetings, sorties, and related activities by shunning confetti-throwing, firecrackers, balloons-releasing; by not using styrofoam or plastic bags for volunteers’ meals; by setting up segregated waste bins; by designating eco-volunteers; by cleaning up after every campaign event; by hiring a local garbage collector.
  3. Refrain from using excessive campaign materials such as leaflets, posters, stickers, etc.
  4. Include in campaign materials eco-friendly reminders about keeping trash in trash cans.
  5. Avoid use tarpaulin and other plastics in campaign materials.
  6. Use recycled paper for campaign materials; avoid plastic-coated paper.
  7. Don’t use hardly reused or recycled materials such as confetti, buntings, and balloons.
  8. Reject graffiti and vandalism.
  9. Harm not the trees. Spare them from election campaign materials and post only in designated common poster areas.
  10. Win or lose, candidates must remove all their campaign materials from all sites immediately after the elections.

Even the Elections Commissioner Rene Sarmiento was impressed by the endeavor. He promised to convince his co-members to adopt the guidelines. He must. Government is accountable to the environmental harm that will be caused by  the mountains of paper and non-biodegradable waste resulting from the political parties’ and candidates’ campaigns.

It’s high time that the Eco-Waste Coalition’s guidelines were pushed to be made part of the COMELEC Rules and Procedures, if not the Elections Code.

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