Environmentalists Weep Over Nazarene Feast Trash ”
9 January 2015, Quezon City. Environmental advocates belonging to the EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog, expressed grief
over the defilement of the surroundings as millions of Black Nazarene devotees joined the “Traslacion” today.
“While admiring the devotees’ steadfastness to fulfill their vows, we could not help but express our sorrow over the environmental lapses and offenses that have again tarnished the mammoth procession and feast of the revered Catholic icon,” noted Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We’re sorry that our eco-reminders as well as those aired by concerned church and government officials fell on deaf ears, sadly turning the ‘Traslacion’ into a ‘trash-lacion’ that is totally incompatible with the faith-inspired commemoration,” she said.
Vergara clarified that “trash-lacion,” a word coined by the EcoWaste Coalition, is not meant to belittle the sacrifices of the devotees, but to remind the faithful, loud and clear, that littering defiles the environment and is mismatched with the pious devotion to the Black Nazarene whom many beseech for protection against calamities, injuries, diseases and other misfortunes.
“We hope the outdoor Eucharistic celebrations to be presided over by Pope Francis in Manila and Tacloban next week will not be blighted by
garbage that we saw in today’s ‘Traslacion,’” she added.
“It’s not fair to burden the waste and sanitation workers and volunteers – and the environment at large – with the inexcusable trashing of our streets,” she added.
The group’s Basura Patrollers, who monitored the waste and sanitation condition in Luneta and Quiapo from 6:00 this morning, noted the following initial observations in terms of environmental lapses and offenses as of 12:noon today:
1. Rampant littering at the main parade area of soiled newspapers,
food leftovers, containers and wrappers, paper cups, plastic bags and
bottles and cigarette butts.
2. Sale of cigarettes inside the park, a no smoking zone, and
disposal of cigarette filters in park grounds
3. Urinating in the open, particularly on building walls .
1. Unrestrained disposal of Styrofoam food containers in street
gutters and sidewalks.
2. Widespread use of plastic bags and polystyrene containers banned
under Manila City Ordinance 8282, but which remains unimplemented
3. Dumping of mixed trash near or on storm drains and in street corners.
4. Urinating in open spaces
The group likewise scored the unnecessary use of plastic buntings and tarpaulins in some barangays surrounding the church, which only add
clutter to Quiapo’s busy streets and swell post-fiesta garbage. On the other hand, the EcoWaste Coalition extolled the role played by waste pickers who patiently collected recyclable materials such as plastic bottles left by the devotees.
It also commended street sweepers from the public, private and church sectors, including devotees from Barangay Liang, Malolos City, who
cleared the Quirino Grandstand and the parade ground of garbage abandoned by devotees and vendors.
Typical litter seen in Luneta and Quiapo included discarded sleeping materials, polystyrene bowls, cups and plates, disposable forks and spoons, snack wrappers, cigarette butts, plastic bags, bamboo skewers and food leftovers.
Last year, the Metro Manila Development Authority reported hauling some 336 tons of garbage after the Black Nazarene feast.
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