Quezon City. As various communities celebrate the popular feast of the Santo Niño, the environmental advocacy group EcoWaste Coalition has called for a ban on non-reusable “banderitas” (buntings) on environmental and health grounds.
The eco-group observed that the “banderitas” have now become an environmental nuisance devoid of any spiritual or aesthetic value, especially with increasing use of super thin disposable plastic bags as buntings.
From the church plaza down to the neighborhood streets and alleys, multicolored buntings made out of plastic bags, packaging scraps, straws as well as product advertisements usually fly overhead to mark the fiesta.
“We urge the parish pastoral councils and the local government authorities to impose a complete ban on disposable buntings, and to persuade parishes and communities to go for environmentally-safe substitutes that can be removed, washed, stored and used again,” said Rei Panaligan, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
The eco-group pointed out that “the true essence of our time-honored festive celebrations does not rely on the length and color of plastic buntings crisscrossing our streets, but on how we relight our faith and share our community blessings through the fiesta.”
If buntings are deemed important by the fiesta organizers, the EcoWaste Coalition proposes the use of reusable ones from fabric scraps or the use of colored cloth banners hanging or drooping from bamboo poles as safer alternatives.
Unknown to many, the deceivingly harmless buntings can threaten the environment with toxic pollutants, particularly when the decorative items are littered, dumped or burned after the fiesta.
The dumping of fiesta buntings and other trash into the storm drains, esteros and rivers pollutes water paths and causes flooding that transports disease-causing organisms.
Burning plastics, on the other hand, releases toxic smoke and other extremely hazardous compounds such as dioxins that can result to a host of health problems, including cancers. Children and people with heart conditions and respiratory ailments are especially sensitive to air
For more information, please contact the EcoWaste Coalition at 9290376.