Quezon City. With the onset of the Santacruzan and fiesta season, an environmental coalition called attention to the waste and climate impact of our festive and vibrant community celebrations.
In a statement issued following the widely-celebrated feast of St. Joseph the Worker, the EcoWaste Coalition expressed concern over the wastefulness of community festivities and the long-drawn-out action of church and barangay officials to institute “green reforms,” especially in community fiestas.
“Time and again, we bear witness to a grand display of an utter lack of ecological awareness and responsibility as fiestas are held with least consideration to how their negative impacts on our frail environment can be proactively prevented. Our problem with trash, for instance, becomes more noticeable and intense during our festive celebrations,” observed Manny Calonzo, President, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Knowing that wasteful consumption and dirty disposal have a direct impact on climate change, we are called upon to upgrade our community fiestas so that they are in complete harmony with our quest to slow down the warming cycle,” Calonzo stated.
The EcoWaste Coalition pointed out that “greening” our fiestas and making them “climate positive” will mean minimizing the wasteful use of materials, electricity and water in order to reduce consumption of fossil-based energy which propels global climate change.
“Our fiestas and all other human activities impact climate change because we use materials or products that involve processes such as resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation, marketing, consumption and disposal. Greenhouse gases are emitted at every step of that chain,” the EcoWaste Coalition said, stressing that minimizing the use of resources and the generation of waste will dramatically cut down the release of these environmental pollutants into the atmosphere.
Towards a “climate positive” fiesta, the EcoWaste Coalition identified 10 practical steps that will help protect the climate, while ensuring a festive -- yet guiltless -- celebration.
1. Substitute single-use plastic banderitas with smart alternatives that can be washed, stored and reused such as banderitas from fabric scraps.
2. Replace the politicians’ boring “happy fiesta” banners with creative neighborhood “arko” using biodegradable materials.
3. Use coco cloth and other natural materials for essential fiesta announcements instead of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tarpaulin.
4. Embark on a “balik-bayong” public awareness drive in the local market to encourage the people to opt for reusable carry bags instead of plastic bags. Initiate a “make your own bag” project.
5. Campaign against throwaway Styrofoam, plastic cups and cutlery and for biodegradable or reusable alternatives.
6. Enforce a “no segregation, no collection” policy to ensure that discards are properly sorted, to facilitate recycling and composting in the barangay ecology center or materials recovery facility (MRF).
7. Minimize the creation of waste by using the least possible amount of resources, and only for what may be deemed truly necessary in all fiesta events. Decorate with plants and other biodegradable stuff instead of synthetic ornaments.
8. Form “ecowaste patrols” to prevent littering and ensure observance of ecological practices in managing discards in fiesta activities.
9. Refrain from blasting firecrackers and fireworks to save on money and to prevent both air and noise pollution, which are bad not only for humans but for animals too.
10. Tap the roaming bands and the “ati-atihan” teams to raise community awareness on waste and climate.
The usual talent contests and street games that mark the festive occasions, according to the EcoWaste Coalition, can also serve as vehicles for environmental education. Friendly competitions on the proper sorting of discards, on the most innovative recycling of household “throw-outs,” on the best environment-friendly bags, on the most artistic costumes made out of residual waste, on environmental slogans and related endeavors are fun activities that can also teach love and respect for the environment.
“The fiesta, being a central part of community life, can be a good platform to instigate a people-driven movement towards a Zero Waste barangay that will aim for zero dumping and burning of discards, comprehensive clean recycling of non-biodegradables, and intensive composting of segregated biodegradables,” the EcoWaste Coalition said, noting that “a Zero Waste barangay will be kinder and gentler to the climate.”
For a complete list of the EcoWaste Coalition’s guidelines for an eco-friendly fiesta, please log on to:
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