Zero waste advocates do the Zumba to urge cemetery goers to shun “Zombasura”, observe “Cemetiquette”

A few days before the commemoration of the time-honored Filipino “Undas” tradition, green groups today implore the public to show genuine respect for our departed loved ones by trashing wasteful and toxic habits.

Through a Zumba-inspired event cast by “Zombasura” and colorful actors/dancers in pig masks held at the Manila North Cemetery, EcoWaste Coalition, together with Miss Earth Beauties Jamie Herrell (Miss Philippines Earth 2014), Diane Querrer (Miss Philippines Earth Air), Maria Bencelle Bianzon (Miss Philippines Earth Runner-up); MALAYA-Cavite; representatives from the government of the City of Manila; Manila North Cemetery Administration; Tzu Chi Foundation, and other civil society groups from Malabon, danced to reverberate the call for a zero waste and toxics-free “Undas”.

“As part of our yearly campaign for waste- and pollution-free Undas celebrations, we took on the Zumba craze to remind our fellow cemetery goers to keep in mind the “Cemetiquette” or cemetery etiquette and do away with “Zombasura” habits as a way of showing deep and genuine respect for our departed kindred and friends. We ask the public to please don't turn the cemetery into a pigsty,” expressed Christina Vergara, Zero Waste Program Officer of EcoWaste Coalition.

To highlight the appeal to observe the “Cemetiquette” and trash “Zombasura” habits, dancers in pig masks do the Zumba, at the background were placards and a banner with such calls as “Sementeryo ay Irespeto; Huwag kang Baboy!” (Respect the cemetery; Don’t be like pigs) and “Zombasura Huwag Tularan!” (Don’t be like Zombasura).

According to the group, the “Cemetiquette” aims to “promote environmental responsibility and commonsensical good manners in the cemeteries and draw attention to practices that show disrespect for the dead, as well as for the living.”

“Zombasura”, the “basura” or garbage monster, on the other hand is a creative depiction of “pig-like” attitude and practices of “wallowing in filth and mud”, the group’s figurative way of saying wasteful and toxic attitude and practices.

For her part, Miss Philippines Earth 2014, Jamie Herrell, stressed that “garbage and anything that can make our surroundings ugly should have no place in the Undas celebration. We join the EcoWaste Coalition in imploring the public to keep cemeteries clean and safe as we remember our departed dear ones.”

In the “Cemetiquette”, the group listed down ten practical and sensible recommendations that the public can and should adopt as we celebrate a long-revered tradition that is “Undas”:

1. Choose lead-free candles that do not yield black fumes or soot. Set alight a limited number of candles to reduce heat and pollution. Be cautious so as not to let candle fire touch plastic receptacles or holders.

2. Offer local fresh flowers, not plastic ones, or consider bringing potted plants and flowers instead. Avoid wrapping floral or plant offerings in plastic, which will sooner or later end up as trash.

3. Bring your own water jug to avoid purchasing bottled water. Discarded plastic bottles add up to the country’s garbage problem. Plastic bottles, which are petrochemical products, also require lots of oil and chemicals to manufacture. Please watch The Story of Bottled Water to find out why:

4. Go for waste-free meals. Say yes to reusable carriers, containers, and utensils such as lunchboxes and thermos, cloth napkins and silverwares. Say no to throw-away bags, wraps, foils, Styrofoam packaging, paper napkins, and forks and spoons. Also, refrain from patronizing junk food and go for simple yet nutritious home-prepared baon.

5. For food and beverage, buy and bring only what you can consume to avoid spoilage or wastage. Bring bayong or other reusable bags to carry your stuff and purchases, and refuse plastic bags and wrappers from vendors.

6. Cut your waste size by not creating trash in the first place such as by purchasing products with the least amount of packaging and avoiding single-use plastic disposables.

7. Don’t litter, dump or burn trash in the cemetery. Do not throw cigarette butts, candy wrappers, discarded packaging, fruit peels, and the likes on the ground. Remember to leave the resting place of your loved ones litter-free.

8. Put your discards into the recycling bins if available. Better still, bring your own discards bags and bring them home for sorting, reusing, recycling or composting.

9. Relieve yourself only in the proper place where one should. Keep the urinal or toilet bowl clean as a courtesy to the next user. Do not defecate or urinate in public places.

10. Refrain from smoking in the cemetery. Show consideration for the children, the elderly, pregnant women and others around you who may be saddled with respiratory and heart ailments.