Environmental group to recycle illegal campaign materials into reusable items

• Tons of illegally-posted election campaign materials were collected by the MMDA
• The materials were turned over to members of EcoWaste Coalition
• The MMDA urged candidates to post their campaign materials on places classified by the Commission on Elections as common poster areas

Tons of illegal political campaign materials such as posters and tarpaulins collected by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority or MMDA have been turned over to an environmental group for recycling.

The MMDA turned over at least 7 tons of illegally posted campaign materials it collected since it started the “Operation Baklas” last February 9 to the environment watchdog EcoWaste Coalition who plans to recycle them into reusable items.

MMDA Chairman Emerson Carlos appealed to candidates to post their campaign materials in places classified by the Commission on Elections as common posting areas only.

Mike Frialde wrote in his article for Philstar that was published on February 18, 2016 that the illegally-posted campaign materials were taken down from non-common poster areas such as footbridges, trees, lampposts and electric cables. At least 5 truckloads of tarpaulins, posters and banners were collected by the MMDA led by Metro Parkway Clearing Group head Francis Martinez.

EcoWaste Coalition coordinator Aileen Lucero said it will be such a huge waste if the illegal election paraphernalia end up buried in landfills; adding they should be put to good use.

“The seized campaign materials are valuable resources that should be put to good use,” she said.

The environmental group, which is working with the government to have a trash-free elections come May 9, 2016, said the tarpaulins can be sewn into many different useful things such as coin purses, pouch bags, shoe organizers and grocery bags.

The collected election campaign materials could also be made into workers’ aprons, tool belts, laundry baskets and even as receptacles for office or household recyclables, Lucero said.

She, however, said that the materials could not be made into things that could contaminate food or expose children to toxic chemicals like lead and cadmium.

Before turning the materials into reusable items, they will first be screened for toxic metals using X-Ray fluorescence device.

“We’ll use the chemical data to be generated to push for a regulation that will restrict, if not eliminate, toxic additives in plastic tarpaulins. Removing such toxic additives is necessary to make tarpaulins easily reusable and recyclable and less a threat to public health and the ecosystems,” Lucero said.