MANILA, Jan. 7, 2013—An environmental watchdog has called on devotees to become more environmentally sensitive while celebrating the feast of the Black Nazarene by not polluting the surroundings with garbage.
In a statement released ahead of the January 9 feast, EcoWaste Coalition urged not only the devotees but also vendors and food and beverages providers to take the lead in keeping the solemn occasion free of trash.
Tin Vergara of EcoWaste Coalition personally appealed to the devotees to protect Quiapo and its environs from trash, abuse and destruction.
“Keeping the surroundings garbage-free – from Luneta to Quiapo and all the way to our communities – is not only a civic duty, but an act of worship and devotion as well,” Vergara said.
Vergara, who is the Zero Waste Campaigner of the group, hopes there won’t be a repeat of the widespread littering seen in last year’s celebration, particularly in the vicinity of the Church.
Last year, the group’s Basura Patrollers found food wrappers, plastic bags, cups, bottles and straws, Styrofoam food and beverage containers, cigarette filters and bamboo skewers scattered along the six-kilometer processional routes and in the streets and barangays adjoining the Quiapo Church; prompting them this year to remind the faithful on how to have a cleaner and safer fiesta.
The group also asked devotees to refrain from smoking and to avoid littering the surroundings with cigarette butts.
“Or if you smoke, please don’t toss butts on the ground; if you chew gum, do put it in a bin after you’re done with it; do not spit on walls and other spots; do not urinate on the streets, return used food and beverage containers, including bamboo skewers, to the vendors; put your discards into the designated bins; and bring a reusable bag if you are planning to buy some ‘pasalubong’ from Quiapo,” they said.
They also urged food and beverage providers to pack meals in biodegradable packaging such as banana leaves and paper or serve meals, as well as drinks, in reusable containers, and to collect all food leftovers for pigs to eat.
The group also told vendors to refrain from using single-used disposable containers, to bring their own garbage bags for their discards, and to make a final sweep of their vending area before they leave.
They likewise asked the clergy through Msgr. Jose Clemente Ignacio, rector of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, to include in their homilies a reminder that will encourage all devotees of their responsibility in ensuring a cleaner and safer celebration this year without waste and pollution. (Jandel Posion/CBCPNews)