An environmental organization that is one with angry citizens in denouncing the anomalous pork barrel system has made an appeal to all who will gather on Monday for the “Million People March”: “huwag magbaboy: no smoking, no littering in Luneta”
The EcoWaste Coalition, which has earlier condemned the anomalous use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for ghost projects, asked concerned groups and individuals not to vent their anger against the corruption-ridden pork barrel by dirtying Rizal Park.
“As citizens from all walks of life assemble in Luneta this Monday to plea for truth and accountability, we urge everyone not to defile the historic park with litter,” said Aileen Lucero, Acting National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Our righteous demand to end corruption is not acceptable alibi to turn the park into a dumpsite for cigarette butts, food leftovers and wrappers, plastic bags and even for political leaflets,” she pointed out.
“Let it not be said that pigs disguised as humans came and took control of the park to lambast the rotten pork barrel, leaving mounds of rubbish all over the area,” she said.
“We should not simply rely on eco-aides and eco-volunteers to clean up our mess. It’s our collective duty to keep Luneta, a common heritage, tidy and safe,” she said.
“Our quest for clean government is not detached from our struggle for a zero waste and toxics-free nation,” she emphasized.
The EcoWaste Coalition feared a repeat of the massive littering that marred the Christmas celebration in Luneta last December 25, 2012 that attracted some 500,000 people and generated about 50 truckloads of mixed garbage as estimated by the National Parks Development Committee .
Rizal Park, reminded the EcoWaste Coalition, has a “no smoking, no littering” policy that every citizen should respect.
Those caught littering or smoking within the park premises are to pay a fine of P500 or render eight hours' community service for the first offense, P1,000 to 5,000 fine or 16 hours' community service for second offense, and P5,000 to P10,000 fine for the third offense, the group said.
Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, clearly bans the “littering, throwing, dumping of waste matters in public places such as roads, sidewalks, canals, esteros or parks, and establishments,” the EcoWaste Coalition further reminded.
To prevent the “trashing” of Luneta, the EcoWaste Coalition has provided the following practical tips to park visitors:
1. Carry a personal litter bag or hold on to your rubbish until you have found a bin.
2. Bring your own drinking water in a refillable water tumbler or jug to minimize buying bottled water.
3. Place your “baon” in recyclable food containers that should be brought home, washed and used again.
4. Use reusable bags instead of plastic bags for your needs.
5. Don’t spit, throw chewing gum or toss cigarette filters on the ground.
“Please discourage others from dropping or dumping trash in Luneta or elsewhere as this polluting practice harms the public health and the environment,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.