Zero basura election gains support

ecowaste

A veteran actor, a ‘green’ beauty titlist and a senior church leader have thrown their support behind a well-timed call by an environmental watchdog for a “zero basura” 2013 election campaign.

Actor Roy Alvarez, beauty queen Stephany Stefanowitz and Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez made a pitch for earth-friendly campaigning following an appeal by the EcoWaste Coalition to all aspiring local and national political leaders to engage in a meaningful ‘zero basura’ poll campaign that will, by design, keep the generation of trash to the minimum.

“I urge all well-meaning candidates, as well as their supporters, to be environmentally-responsible and heed the EcoWaste Coalition’s call for a ‘zero basura’ election campaign. Please try not to add to our country’s problems with litter and pollution,” said Roy Alvarez, a professional film, television and theater actor.

“The election frenzy will surely consume lots of precious resources. Candidates should, as much as possible, avoid the wasteful use of such resources and take extra steps to lessen the generation of garbage from the campaign activities. Reducing, reusing and recycling campaign discards will be beneficial for the environment,” said Miss Earth-Air 2012 Stephany Stefanowitz.

“It will be grossly insensitive for candidates to spend and waste unreasonable amounts of resources in order to win at the polls. The electorate will be apprehensive of candidates who have no qualms in exceeding the spending limits and in trashing the environment just to win. To the candidates, I say: ‘let nothing be wasted’ (John 6:12),” said Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, head of the Public Affairs Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

The EcoWaste Coalition thanked Alvarez, Stefanowitz and Iñiguez for their support as the group renewed its call to all political candidates and groups to be always mindful of the environmental effects of their decisions and actions.

The EcoWaste Coalition had earlier come up with a 10-point “Guidelines for a Zero Basura Election Campaign” to guide candidates and their groups in reducing, if not eliminating, campaign waste. To wit:

1. Designate a lead team in the campaign structure that will be tasked to prevent or reduce campaign waste to the minimum in all activities.

2. Target zero tolerance on garbage in all campaign meetings, sorties and related activities.

– Keep the campaign litter-free.

– Shun throwing confetti (which is littering per se), exploding firecrackers (which contributes tobair, garbage and noise pollution), releasing balloons in campaign events (which are blown to the bseas and oceans, causing pollution and harming marine animals) or lighting sky lanterns (which can cause fire and endanger wildlife).

– 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 a local waste picker to pick up segregated wastes from campaign venue for recycling/composting.

3. Refrain from using excessive campaign materials such as leaflets, pamphlets, posters, stickers, decals, streamers and other campaign paraphernalia.

4. For election propaganda materials: include a friendly reminder that says “Para sa ating kalusugan at kalikasan, huwag pong ikalat, itambak o sunugin” or its equivalent in local languages.

5. Avoid the use of specific campaign materials such as tarpaulin and other plastics as their disposal have been environmentally problematic.

6. Use post-consumer recycled paper for campaign materials to conserve trees and protect our forests, watersheds, and ecosystems. To make recycling easy, avoid using plastic-coated paper.

7. Stay away from campaign materials that are hardly reused or recycled such as confetti, buntings and balloons. These are often burned or discarded in storm drains, esteros, rivers, seas and dumps.

8. Reject graffiti or vandalism, or the willful or malicious defacing or destruction of property.

9. Harm not the trees: spare the trees of election campaign materials. Use designated common poster areas.

10. Win or lose – remove election campaign materials from all sites within one week after the election day.

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