Quezon City. A waste and pollution watchdog decried the out-and-out littering during the Quiapo fiesta last Friday as if the people’s faithfulness to the Black Nazarene is an excuse for litterbugs to ignore the law.
The EcoWaste Coalition lamented the blatant breach of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which among others, prohibits and penalizes all forms of littering.
The environmental group aired its grievance after the longest ever procession in honor of the eminent Black Nazarene icon that attracted millions of devotees also left the processional route littered with trash.
“From the Quirino Grandstand to Plaza Miranda, we were upset to see how the religious fervor in honor of Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno was tarnished by the garbage left by the devotees, vendors, fiesta volunteers and guests as if littering is OK and integral to the devotion,” Manny
Calonzo, President of the EcoWaste Coalition, said.
Manila Department of Public Service (DPS) chief Ret. Col. Carlos Baltazar reported that some 19 trucks were required to clear affected streets, especially in Quiapo, of fiesta trash estimated at 124 tons.
Among the most littered items, observed the EcoWaste Coalition, were cigarette butts, bamboo skewers, plastic bags, bottles and drinking cups, and Styrofor containers, most of which were left lying in street gutters and corners.
R.A. 9003 lists the littering, throwing and dumping of waste matters in public places as prohibited acts punishable by a fine of 300 to 1,000 pesos or 1 to 15-day community service or both.
“The widespread littering during the Quiapo fiesta should serve as a wake up call to the church, community and Hijos del Señor Nazareno leaders to send a clear message to the devotees that spiritual devotion without ecological action is toxic to health, environment and climate,” Calonzo
The EcoWaste Coalition expressed hope that the plea to purify the devotion to the Black Nazarene of fanatical and superstitious excesses by Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and other church leaders will also stress the need to eliminate waste and pollution during the popular fiesta.
“The Quiapo and our other festive fiestas use too much resource, consume too much energy and yield too much garbage. We are called to green our fiestas so that they are celebrated within the constraints dictated by our ailing environment and warming climate,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.
The EcoWaste Coalition sought the establishment of the “Care of the Earth Ministry” at the Parish of St. John the Baptist (Quiapo Church) to, among others, initiate with the Parish Pastoral Council the “greening” of the devotion to the Black Nazarene.
The group further proposed that every chapter of Hijos del Señor Nazareno designates a person or a team to encourage and ensure devotees’ participation towards an eco-friendly devotion.
The EcoWaste Coalition also asked Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, District 3 Representative Zenaida Angpin and Councilors Joel Chua, Ernesto Isip, Jr., Ramon Morales, Yul Servo, Monina Silva and Manuel Zarcal to extend more support to barangay-level public information drive against littering and for the ecological management of discards.
Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition commended the “Green Brigade” composed of students from the Nazarene Catholic School and the City College of Manila and assisted by the Rizal Park janitors and vendors, “Police OYSTERS” and DPS staff for their fast effort to clear Quirino Grandstand of litter after the vigil and concelebrated Masses held there.
“We hope that a clean, green and safe fiesta will be our shared offering next time to the Black Nazarene,” the EcoWaste Coalition stated.
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