According to the group, the occasion is a special holiday as millions of Filipinos visit the tombs of their departed family members and friends, bringing flowers and candles and offering prayers. Sadly, the celebration is often marred by wasteful practices and unabashed littering desecrating the cemeteries that are supposed to be hallowed grounds.
Miss Earth Philippines green beauty queens and activists from EcoWaste Coalition hold a simple event in front of the Manila South Cemetery to remind the public to keep the cemeteries clean. The event was attended by Henry Dy, Officer in Charge of the Manila South Cemetery and Manila City Hall Police P/SSupt Alex Gutierrez.
“Let us observe the cleanliness of our cemeteries, as our way of respecting the memories of the dead. Cemeteries are sacred places and we should keep them peaceful and litter-free. Let us show the Filipino nature of caring for others and our environment,” said Cathy Untalan, former Miss Earth-Water International and currently the Executive Director of Miss Earth Foundation.
More than 8,000 tons of garbage are being produced daily in Metro Manila alone. Sacred places such as cemeteries, churches and chapels, could turn into virtual dumpsites if such wasteful throw away practices persist.
Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr., chair of the Public Affairs Committee of Catholic Bishops of the Philippines (CBCP), has conveyed his support for this timely advocacy for health and the environment.
"I join the EcoWaste Coalition and the Miss Earth Foundation in urging the faithful to be mindful of the environment as we remember our dear departed ones. Let us keep garbage and pollution to a minimum and fulfill our shared responsibility as stewards of God's creations," Bishop Iñiguez
said. "Make a mark for the environment," the bishop further encouraged the groups.
To the general population who will visit the cemetery, the EcoWaste Coalition makes the following calls:
* Pick clean-burning candles that do not give off black fumes or ash. Candles that produce excessive soot can trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments. Also, shun candles with metal wicks, which may contain harmful chemicals such as lead, a neurotoxin.
* Light just enough candles to save on money and energy and to minimize pollution. It’s the thought that counts, not the number of candles set alight.
* Offer locally-grown fresh flowers instead of imported ones that are not only costly, but also require tons of energy to get them flown to flower shops and to you.
* Refrain from putting flowers in plastic wraps. Plastics eventually end up clogging waterways, injuring and killing marine animals, and poisoning communities with hazardous chemicals such as dioxins, the most toxic chemicals known to science, when burned.
* Desist from bringing or buying excessive amounts of food and beverage to the cemetery to cut on expenses and waste.
* Bring your own water in reusable jugs. Discarded plastic bottles add up to the country’s garbage problem. Plastics bottles, which are petrochemical products, also require lots of oil and chemicals to
* Pack everything you wish to bring to the cemetery in reusable bags and baskets in lieu of single-use plastic bags and containers. Instead of plastic disposables, better use banana leaves or containers that can be reused.
* Throw all discards into the proper recycling bins and be conscious at all times that littering in the cemetery – and elsewhere - is a NO-NO!
* Bring home all your discards for reusing or recycling. Give food leftovers to pet animals or turn into compost with other biodegradable waste, and reuse or recycle the non-biodegradable discards that may have further use.
* Carpool with your family instead of traveling in different vehicles. Avoid idling, this will save you gas and avoid pollution.
* Offer prayers of gratitude and remembrance to your departed ones.
For more details, please contact the EcoWaste Coalition at 929-0376.
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376