MANILA -- An environmental watchdog urged the candidates who ran for the midterm elections as well as the public to remove and upcycle campaign materials to save resources and lessen trash volume.
"Regardless of the outcome of your election bid, we appeal to all candidates and parties to take down your campaign materials without delay," EcoWaste Coalition's national coordinator Aileen Lucero said in a statement. "Kabit, sabit o dikit mo, tanggal mo."
This call has also been echoed by some social media users.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said it collected a total of 168.84 tons of election-related materials from March 1 until May 14.
To turn the discarded election materials into more functional pieces, Lucero recommended their upcycling or creative reuse. This, she said, prevents the materials from being burned or disposed in dumps and landfills.
"Sort the dismantled campaign materials and upcycle them as much as possible," Lucero added.
Election articles such as leaflets, posters, and sample ballots can be turned into various functional materials, as seen in the display arranged by the group during an event at the MMDA's temporary holding area for dismantled campaign materials.
The group showed paper-based materials that were reused as bookmarks, envelopes, folders, memo pads, and teaching aids among others.
Posters with polyethylene plastic components were repurposed as covering for books and notebooks.
Meanwhile, different practical carriers such as string and shopping bags were created from polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-based tarpaulins.
The group, however, emphasized that PVC-based materials must only be reused for non-food and non-child applications as these may contain toxic additives.
Eliminating toxic campaign materials
The EcoWaste Coalition also urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to further improve its existing rules to ensure the "judicious use of resources and eliminate the use of materials that are toxic and are difficult to reuse or recycle."
"There is also a need to responsibilize candidates and parties in the mandatory removal and environmentally sound management of campaign materials right after election," Lucero said.
The group had also called out the "unrestrained" distribution of sample ballots during the midterm elections that left public places littered with trash.
In 2016, the National Solid Waste Management Commission recorded a 40,087.45 tons of waste generation per day in the country.
– with a research from John Lerry Marin and Jazmyn Santiago