30 March 2013

EcoWaste Coalition Lauds and Thanks Waste Pickers, Chides "Alay-Lakad" Litterbugs

An environmental watchdog wasted no time in applauding the role of the informal waste sector, particularly the waste pickers, in minimizing the garbage woes from the annual “Alay-Lakad” penitential walk to Antipolo City.

The EcoWaste Coalition complimented the informal sector for retrieving the corrugated  boxes, newspapers and PET bottles discarded by some of the devotees who thronged the Antipolo Cathedral in large numbers last Thursday and Friday.

“At the shrine of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage and adjacent places, we found waste pickers in the sea of devotees collecting recyclables left by the pilgrims,” said Rey Palacio, Informal Waste Sector Project Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

The collected recyclables were sold to junk shops for P5 per kilo for the corrugated boxes and newspapers, and P20-25 for plastic beverage and water bottles.

The junk shops would later resell the recyclables for use as raw materials by factories here or abroad.

“The waste pickers, which many still hold in low esteem, prevented valuable materials from entering the waste stream. By recycling, they averted the environmental and climate damage associated with garbage disposal, as well as with the production, transportation and consumption of virgin materials,” Palacio said. 

“Not to forget, they have reduced the volume of pilgrim trash at no cost to the church and city authorities,” he added.

“Indeed the informal waste sector contributes tremendously to resource conservation, environmental protection and disposal cost reduction.  We acknowledge and thank them,” he stated.

According to the National Solid Waste Management Commission, “the informal waste sector  are individuals, families, groups or small enterprises engaged in the recovery of waste materials with revenue generation as the motivation either on a full-time or part-time basis.”

The EcoWaste Coalition likewise lauded Antipolo City’s street sweepers for quickly getting trash off the streets.

Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition lamented the widespread littering that again spoiled the “Alay-Lakad.”

“We regret that the Pope’s environmental plea fell on deaf ears,” the group said.

At his recent inaugural Mass at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Pope Francis urged “all men and women of goodwill (to) be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.”

“We hope that his call for environmental protection will strike a chord with the faithful in word and deed, especially during mammoth religious observances and festivities,” the group stated.

“Let nothing be wasted anymore as we carry out our faith-inspired endeavors,” the group emphasized.

Among the most littered items at the "Alay-Lakad," observed the EcoWaste Coalition, were candy and snack wrappers, “suman” palm leaf wrapper, food leftovers, plastic bags, PET bottles, cigarette filters, and the corrugated boxes, newspapers and other improvised sleeping materials.

Littering, reminded the EcoWaste Coalition, is unlawful.  

It is prohibited under Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, as well as in the Antipolo City Ordinance 2008-287, the city’s “Basura Code.”



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