A DAVAO-BASED environmental group urged political candidates to practice an "environment-friendly campaign."

In a press statement, Interface Development Intervention for Sustainability (Idis) said it has noted various wastes when the national campaign started on February 8, and that it is expecting more types of wastes to be generated when the local campaign starts on March 25.

Idis said numerous tarpaulins and advertisement banners, along with usage of balloons and confetti, had been visible in every political rally.

"Concerns over the environmental impact of elections are once again rising in the wake of elections, with rival election campaigns producing tons of trash," the group said.

The group also said "only a fraction" is most likely to be recycled.

Idis said banners installed every election made with plastic do not decay well when buried and release toxic materials into the air when burned.

"Like the illegally dumped wastes below the campaign materials, this type of waste is always left unattended," the group said.

The group said it has been urging candidates to use recyclable materials on election paraphernalia, but this call has been ignored by candidates, making it "a setback to environmental goals."

"The single-use plastic waste generated during the campaign causes choking of drainage, ingestion by stray animals, land, and water pollution, thereby causing adverse impact on human health and the environment," Idis said.

Idis Executive Director Mark Peñalver said this has been a recurring problem in every election.

"We can see tarpaulin banners everywhere, even if not in their designated area – worst, several campaign materials are nailed through a tree. And after the election period, these materials will be left unattended, adding to the pile of waste at our landfill site," Peñalver said.

The Idis official also urged candidates to be more responsible for their waste and spare the trees from posting their campaign materials as it can severely damage the health condition of trees as it is prohibited under Republic Act (RA) 9006 or the Fair Election Act of 2001.

Section 9 of RA 9006 states that posting of campaign materials may only be allowed in common poster areas in public places such as plazas, markets, barangay centers, and the like.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution No. 10730, dated November 17, 2021, also emphasized that “in no instance shall an election officer designate as common poster areas any trees, plants, shrubs in any public grounds.”

Idis urged Comelec to ensure candidates comply with the issued guidelines.

The group also urged agencies to lobby policies and practices that will protect the environment from further degradation due to the political activities leading to the 2022 elections

Idis urged candidates to clean up, win or lose, the wastes they produced during the campaign period.

"Lastly, we call on the voters to vote for candidates who will put their priority focus on the environment and climate justice," the group said.

Comelec-Davao assistant regional director Lawyer Gay Enumerables, during SunStar Davao's Facebook program Talking Heads, reminded candidates to follow its guidelines, especially in posting their paraphernalia in common poster areas.

Enumerables said she also noted that some posters were not properly posted, leaving them scattered on the ground.

"Unta kanang mga nagpapilit ana, unta mahigmata ba nga dili nato hugawan atong komunidad just for election kay makakita man ang mga tao [kon] kinsa ang nanagan," she said.

(We hope that those tasked with posting these paraphernalias would be aware that they should not pollute the community just for election because the public can see the image of those running.)