As campaign activities draw to a close this Saturday, a waste and pollution watchdog group presented a timely appeal to all voters and candidates alike.
In a press statement, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to voters not to litter “sample ballots” on May 9 and not to leave any trail of trash in schools and other designated polling centers.
While engaging in any election campaign activity is banned on May 9 as per Comelec Resolution No. 10730, it is very likely that some quarters will engage in the distribution of “sample ballots” with the names of candidates like in past elections, the group said, adding that such a practice leads to widespread littering in polling places.
“We appeal to all voters to come to polling stations prepared with their own ‘kodigo’ of candidates to vote for. Aside from choosing pro-people and pro-environment candidates, we urge voters to shun ‘sample ballots’ and not to litter them anywhere,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. “Comelec should enforce the ban on sample ballot distribution on election day, which is clearly a partisan political activity.”
As for candidates, including party-list groups, the EcoWaste Coalition called on them to conduct immediate clean-up operations after election day.
“We likewise appeal to all candidates to immediately take down campaign materials from common poster areas as well as from unauthorized places come May 10. Win or lose, we urge them to switch to clean-up mode and voluntarily remove campaign materials for recycling, reusing or repurposing,” Lucero said.
“Candidates should be considerate and not leave the task of clearing up our communities of campaign materials solely to government personnel,” she added. “They should also dedicate some resources for the huge job of removing posters, stickers and the like from electric posts, fences, walls and even trees.”
Any cleanup operations, the EcoWaste Coalition pointed out, should be done in accordance with Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, and other environmental laws to protect public health and the ecosystems.
The group specifically pointed to the ban against open burning and open dumping as such practices can result in serious pollution, including the formation and release of byproduct persistent organic pollutants (POPs) like dioxins, which can badly harm human health and wildlife.