EcoWaste: Do away with ‘thank you’ posters

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
EcoWaste: Do away with �thank you� posters
Workers of the Manila Department of Public Services sort out election materials to be recycled yesterday.
Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — After appealing to candidates to take down their campaign posters following the May 9 general elections, an environmental group yesterday asked winners not to hang plastic tarpaulins to thank their supporters.

“In lieu of tarpaulins, politicians can express their gratitude by joining cleanup activities, supporting recycling of campaign paraphernalia and by planting trees,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.

“The post-election cleanup has yet to be completed and yet we are seeing ‘thank you’ posters hanging everywhere. Enough of ‘tarpolitics,’ we are already drowning in plastics,” Aileen Lucero, national coordinator of Ecowaste, said.

Lucero said if all proclaimed winners in the elections would put up “thank you” tarpaulins, people may expect “another garbage overload.”

“We need to put a cap on the thoughtless use of tarpaulins, especially for political and other non-essential purposes, as these materials contain hazardous chemicals and are not easily recycled or disposed of,” she said.

Tarpaulins, which are often made of polyvinyl chloride or PVC plastic, may contain toxic chemical additives such as cadmium, lead and phthalates.

Laboratory tests commissioned by the EcoWaste Coalition and performed by SGS on six presidential campaign posters found cadmium in all the samples.

“As plastic tarpaulins are neither banned nor regulated, we can only appeal to politicians to control their penchant to ‘tarpolize’ anything and everything,” Lucero said.

According to EcoWaste, the unrestrained use of tarpaulins before, during and after the campaign should prompt authorities to regulate this type of waste.

“In future elections, let us be environmentally responsible and go plastic-free. No more tarpaulins,” the group said.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it is eyeing to issue show-cause orders against local government units, which have yet to remove campaign materials in public places.

DILG spokesman Jonathan Malaya said the department continues to receive reports of campaign materials that have not been removed one week after the elections. – Emmanuel Tupas

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