Philippine capital to recycle tons of litter in post-election cleanup

MANILA: Metro Manila is going to recycle tons of campaign posters and election paraphernalia, the administration said on Friday, as a cleanup campaign got underway in the Philippine capital region after the recent vote.

Tens of millions of Filipinos cast their ballots on Monday to elect a new president, vice president, around 300 lawmakers, and 18,000 local government officials, including provincial governors and town mayors.

The election period has left the streets of Philippine cities littered with campaign materials — both paper and plastic. In Metro Manila alone, authorities have been collecting tons of election litter a day.

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Tens of millions of Filipinos cast their ballots on Monday to elect a new president, vice president, around 300 lawmakers, and 18,000 local government officials, including provincial governors and town mayors.

“We have already collected a lot of campaign materials. In one day, we get to collect around 18 to 20 tons of campaign paraphernalia,” Metro Manila Development Authority chair Romando Artes told reporters on Friday.

For the cleanup, the development authority teamed up with the EcoWaste Coalition, a zero-waste advocacy group.

“The EcoWaste Coalition met with our personnel the other day so they can make ecobags out of the thick and good quality tarpaulins. The thin ones that can’t be turned into eco-bags, we will take them to our waste granulator. They will be ground and used as materials to make hollow blocks and ecobricks that will be used in the pocket parks we are developing in Metro Manila.”

The EcoWaste Coalition has been calling on candidates who contested the election to help prevent the paper and plastic waste generated by their campaigning from ending up in landfills, furnaces, or the ocean.

“Dumping and burning campaign materials will be a huge waste of resources,” Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition coordinator, said in a statement on Thursday. “It will further result in environmental pollution.”

At an event in Quezon City, the group showed how paper-based campaign materials could be reused and turned into notepads and other stationery. Plastic posters were turned into book and notebook covers.