Miss Earth candidates pitch for waste-less polls

MANILA — Delegates to the upcoming Miss Earth Philippines 2018 beauty pageant on Wednesday trooped to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office to campaign for waste prevention and reduction as the synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections near.

Co-organized by the Miss Earth Foundation and the EcoWaste Coalition, the visit by the pageant hopefuls drew attention to the need to put environmental protection at the heart of the ongoing grassroots poll campaign.

In particular, the aspiring “Dyosa ng Inang Kalikasan” sought the cooperation of the candidates and their supporters in making the May 14 village and youth council polls less wasteful, which is in sync with the pageant’s newly launched #MEPgoesplasticfree initiative where candidates refuse single-use plastics and straws.

Among those who came for the event were Marla Alforque (from Cebu City), Joana Cristine Dalangin (Lipa City), Liz Mabao (Mandaluyong City), Teressa Anne Mariano (Queensland, Australia), Annalea Rabe (Sta. Cruz, Marinduque), Noelle Uy Tuazon (Tangalan, Aklan), and Halimatu Yushawu (Titay, Zamboanga del Sibugay).

“With over one million candidates vying for elective Barangay and SK posts, there is a real risk of increased waste generation as campaign materials are mass produced, disseminated and discarded,” said Catherine Untalan-Vital of the Miss Earth Foundation.

“We appeal to all contenders to be conscious of the environmental outcome of their campaigning activities so as not to add to the garbage problems besetting our communities,” she said.

“Regardless of the poll results, we also request them to conduct ecological post-campaign cleanup as soon as the ballots are counted,” she added.

For his part, Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition, cautioned the public against the improper disposal of campaign materials.

“Throwing discarded campaign materials in street dumps or in distant landfills or, worst, incinerating them, will not really make waste disappear,” he said.

“Instead of the usual ‘hakot, tambak, sunog” approach, we call upon the general public, especially all would-be village and SK leaders, to embrace the basic principles and practices of ecological solid waste management,” he suggested.

“This would mean, among other things, exerting extra effort to lessen the volume of discards for disposal by segregating them at source and safely recycling them as much as possible,” he said.

Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia commended the Miss Earth Foundation and the EcoWaste Coalition for their environmental advocacy in relation to the May 14 elections.

“I commend your action and wholeheartedly join you in appealing to the Barangay and SK poll candidates and the general public to be environmentally caring and responsible. Any decrease in the volume and toxicity of campaign trash will help in reducing the negative impact of the electoral exercise on the environment,” he said. Ecowaste Coalition PR