THERE are still several areas in Ipoh where campaign materials have yet to be taken down despite the conclusion of the general election more than a week ago.
Party flags, posters, banners, bunting, and billboards can still be seen in certain parts of the city such as Buntong, Jelapang, Manjoi and even the city centre itself.
Although much of the material has been taken down by party members, there is still plenty left hanging on trees, lamp posts, telephones lines, fences and bridges.
Some political parties had put up the campaign materials way before nomination day on April 28.
There are also instances where, even though the campaign materials themselves have been brought down, the string and rope used to attach them to fences and so forth, have been left.
Another issue is campaign material that has been taken down but is left uncollected. This has resulted in some of the material ending up in drains or even rivers.
Ipoh Mayor Datuk Zamri Man had said last week that candidates have 14 days to clear the campaign material after the general election.
If they fail to do so within that period, their deposit of RM5,000 for a parliamentary candidate and RM4,000 for a state seat will not be returned.
Koperasi Alam Hijau Perak Bhd (Kohijau) chairman Assoc Prof Dr Richard Ng said 60% of election campaign material including plastic, paper, metal sheets, metal wire, cardboard, wooden rods, planks, and masking tape can be recycled.
Ng said that immediately after every election campaign, these materials are mostly discarded or abandoned, and thus become an eyesore and environmental burden.
He said, while there is no research in Malaysia on the amount of waste generated after every general election so far, one study in Nigeria estimated that each electorate with 300,000 people uses about 3,000kg of election material.
“If the estimate holds true, that means Perak, with 59 state constituencies and 2.7 million population, would have generated a total of about 27 tonnes of rubbish related to the election.
“This rubbish will either end up in landfills or illegal dumpsites resulting in more pollution of the environment.
“Kohijau would like to provide a solution by getting all political parties to separate their used campaign materials which can be recycled such as plastics, metals, and papers,” he said.
Ng added that such material could then be sent to the nearest Kohijau-iCycle recycling bins located at 71 locations in Perak.
He added that the recycling-reward-points system implemented by Kohijau in Perak has attracted about 7,000 volunteers and members.
“They earn recycling points which can be redeemed with cash, Aeon/Tesco coupons or donated to charity.
“A total of 75,000kg of recyclables has been collected in Perak since the launch of the initiative in September 2016,” he added.
Information about the location of Kohijau-iCycle bins can be found at www.icycle-global.com. State Election Commission director Mohd Nazri Ismail said the campaign material must be brought down within 14 days from polling day.
He said May 23 is the last day for the parties concerned and their candidates to bring down all the material.
“If the candidates who contested during GE14 or their representatives fail to remove all the material, their deposits will be held back.
“The money will be used to cover the cost to remove the material by the local councils, and if the deposit is not sufficient, then the candidate concerned will be billed additionally,” he added.