Plastic campaign tarpaulins are a health risk: EcoWaste Coalition
Commission on Elections Chairman Andy Bautista (left) and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Atty. Emerson Carlos (right) inspect confiscated campaign materials in Santolan, Quezon City on Friday. The Comelec encouraged citizens to submit photos of candidates who use unlawful campaign materials.(MNS photo)
MANILA (Mabuhay) – EcoWaste Coalition on Monday warned against the public health risks of plastic tarpaulins used by politicians in the campaign for the May elections.
It said the plastic tarpaulins contain carcinogenic cadmium.
“Plastic tarpaulins have become extremely popular for all types of advertising and promotion. The use of tarps by politicians running for the May polls is a case in point,” Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition coordinator said.
She continued, “The problem goes beyond the huge volume of tarps hanging on unauthorized places like bridges, cables, lamp posts and trees that have to be laboriously removed by MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) or DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) workers.”
Aside from being a carcinogenic, cadmium also accumulates in the kidneys, which can lead to the formation of kidney stones. It also affects calcium metabolism, softening the bones and causing osteoporosis.
Lucero said their group screened 300 pieces of campaign tarpaulins from the MMDA’s “Operation Baklas” tested positive for the chemical.
“All of the 300 tarps were found to contain cadmium in the range of 697 to 1,921 parts per million (ppm), way above the European Union’s 100 ppm limit for cadmium in plastics,” according to EcoWaste.
The MMDA had said that it collects an average of two tons of illegally place campaign posters a day .
The United Nations, through its Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), have detailed the hazardous effects cadmium and Lucero said that it is time that the Philippines legislate against its use.
“We need to ban the intentional use of cadmium-based pigments and stabilizers in all plastics, including tarps and packaging materials, to protect the public health and reduce the amount of cadmium that enters the waste streams, which, at the end of the day, will get dispersed into the environment,” she said.(MNS)