EcoWaste Coalition Urges Catholic Filipinos to Respond to Pope's Environmental Plea, Proposes "6Rs" for Earth-Friendly Holy Week

A waste and pollution watchdog has appealed to Catholic Filipinos to heed the new Pope’s plea for environmental protection.

In a statement issued ahead of Palm Sunday, the EcoWaste Coalition echoed the call made by Pope Francis last Tuesday for the people to be “protectors of the environment.”

During his inaugural mass at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, the Pope told the faithful: “Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of
the environment.”

“The Holy Week is a timely occasion to affirm our role as stewards of God’s creation,” said Ochie Tolentino, Vice-President of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“Regardless of your age, gender, job and possession, you can do something real and beautiful to protect the Mother Earth and help her recover from the ill effects of human excesses,” she said.

“For example, you can start by consuming responsibly such as not wasting rice, not dropping any litter and not dumping or burning your discards,” she pointed out. 

“Let us partake in this common task of protecting our fragile environment from being further degraded, especially during the Holy Week and beyond,” she reiterated.

Towards the path of ecological conversion, the EcoWaste Coalition encouraged the faithful to include the following “6Rs” as “acts of penance and reconciliation with the environment:”

1. Resist the consumption of single-use, disposable products in favor of eco-friendly substitutes that can be reused a number of times.  For example, use a water jug instead of buying bottled water.

2. Refuse plastic bags and proudly use native bayong and other reusable carry bags and containers when you go to your favorite sari-sari store, palengke or supermarket.

3. Reject products packed in excessive paper and/or plastic materials.  Look for and patronize products with less packaging. 

4. Reject all acts of littering from throwing cigarette butts out of car windows, tossing candy wrappers on the streets, spitting on pavements, to not picking up after your dog.

5. Refrain from driving a car for your Visita Iglesia and other Holy Week activities. Save gas: walk, cycle, take the pedicab, jeepney or bus, or car pool in fulfilling your spiritual vows.

6. Reduce electricity and water usage.  Consume less by avoiding wastage and following basic conservation tips such as by turning out lights, unplugging appliances when not in use and fixing
dripping faucets and pipes.

“These ‘6Rs’ are simple starters towards eco-living.  Why not challenge yourself on how much you can do without, and discover just how little you really need.  You and I can definitely do more to lessen our impact on our fragile planet,” Tolentino said.