Cleaning up is the hardest part: Recycle, don’t burn election trash
An environmental watchdog on Thursday warned against burning discarded campaign materials in the cleanup after the elections.
“Recycling the tons of campaign materials instead of burning them will help prevent the formation and release of dioxins and many other dangerous pollutants,” Aileen Lucero of EcoWaste Coalition said.
Dioxin is a toxic byproduct chemical from the burning of materials containing chlorine such as paper and plastic campaign banners, posters and fliers. Dioxins are dangerous even at low levels and have been linked to cancer, the group said.
The open burning of trash is also prohibited under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act with violators facing a fine ranging from P300 to P1,000 or imprisonment for up to 15 days.
EcoWaste members held a cleanup drive in Project 6 Elementary School in Quezon City on Tuesday and showed how common campaign materials could be recycled.
Paper posters were repurposed as notebook covers, envelopes and folders. Sample ballots were turned into notepads and paper fans became bookmarks and picture frames. Plastic tarpaulins, on the other hand, could also be made into bags.
“Now that the campaign is over, we urge all candidates and their backers to switch to cleanup mode and bring their campaign materials down,” Lucero said.
In Manila, reelected Mayor Joseph Estrada has ordered a cleanup of public places that were used as common poster areas as well as schools used as polling precincts in the May 9 elections.
In a statement, Estrada ordered the Department of Public Service (DPS) to coordinate with the Manila Parks Development Office (MPDO) for a massive cleanup operation immediately after the polls.
“The election is over. Our task is to clean up the entire city,” he said.
The MPDO is in charge of maintaining the cleanliness of the city’s public parks and monuments while the DPS is tasked with the cleanup of barangays, including schools, in preparation for the opening of classes next month.
DPS head Lilybelle Borromeo said they were hoping to get rid of campaign materials littering streets and public parks within the week. She also urged local candidates to initiate the removal of their own campaign materials.
All collected campaign materials would be recycled, according to the city government. Residual waste left by the voters would be separated from streamers, tarpaulins and other campaign materials. With Carmela Canonizado
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