EcoWaste Coalition Bewails Extensive Littering in Cemeteries, Gives Awards (Watchdog Gives Cemeteries “Basurapamore” Award, Honors Others with “May Pag-asa,” "Masipag" and “PakoNomore”)

Manila North Cemetery

A non-profit environmental watchdog group lamented the pervasive littering that again tainted the nation’s long-standing tradition of remembering beloved deceased family members and friends.

The EcoWaste Coalition, which had earlier reminded the faithful that cemeteries are places of prayer not dumpsites, decried the throw-away “basurapamore” mania that reared its ugly head and sullied hallowed resting places.

On Sunday, the group sent its Basura Patrollers or litter monitors to 18 public and private cemeteries in 12 local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila (Caloocan, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Parañaque, Pasay, San Juan, Taguig and Quezon Cities and Pateros), 1 LGU in Rizal (Angono) and 1 LGU in Cavite (Dasmariñas City).

Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition, singled out the ban on littering as “the most ignored and violated provision of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act as if the law does not matter at all during Undas.”

“Instead of just leaving flowers and prayers, many cemetery visitors left their trash behind with no sense of environmental responsibility.  Some may think that doing this is tolerable as there are sweepers to clean after.  We say this is not acceptable as littering desecrates the cemeteries and disrespects the dead as well as the living,” she said.       

The group’s Basura Patrollers listed the following as among the most frequently thrown waste materials in the cemeteries: plastic bags and wrappers, plastic cups, bottles and straws, snack packs, polystyrene food and drink containers, disposable paper and plastic plates, pizza boxes, newspapers and cigarette filters.

Recklessly discarded food and water containers, candle receptacles and flower vases may later serve as breeding sites for  dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which can reproduce on trash and clear stagnant water, the group warned.

“This year we give the ‘Basurapamore’ award to cemeteries with bursting garbage bags and bins and littered gutters and streets,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.  Among the recipients were Bagbag Public Cemetery-Quezon City, Manila Memorial Park- Dasmariñas, Manila Memorial Park-Holy Cross, Manila Memorial Park-Parañaque, Manila North Cemetery and Manila South Cemetery.

Bagbag Public Cemetery-Quezon City
Manila North Cemetery-Manila City

Manila South Cemetery-Makati City
Manila Memorial Park (Holy Cross)-Quezon City

"On the other hand, we give cemeteries with minimal or isolated incidents of littering the ‘May Pag-asa’ award,” she continued.  Recipients included the Angono Public Cemetery, Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne Cemetery-Taguig, Loyola Memorial Park-Marikina, Loyola Memorial Park- Parañaque, Paradise Private Cemetery-Mandaluyong, San Felipe Neri Catholic Cemetery-Mandaluyong and San Juan City Cemetery.

 San Felipe Neri Catholic Cemetery-Mandaluyong City
 San Juan City Cemetery
 Tzu Chi Foundation Volunteers
 Tzu Chi Foundation Volunteers
 Himlayang Palangyag-Parañaque Waste Pickers
Taguig City Cemetery Sweepers

The EcoWaste Coalition also cited the hardworking Tzu Chi Foundation recycling volunteers, street sweepers and waste pickers for their environmental services and gave them the “Masipag” award.

Manila Memorial Park-Parañaque was given “PakoNOmore” award for heeding the EcoWaste Coalition’s call to stop the nailing of commercial and parking signages on trees.  This cemetery got the “Pako” award from the group in 2013. 

Manila Memorial Park-Parañaque City

Today, November 2, volunteers from the EcoWaste Coalition and the Ecology Ministry of the Parish of San Roque de Manila went back to the Manila North Cemetery to help with the cleanup drive.

The EcoWaste Coalition last October 26 organized a “BasuRUN” led by “running priest” Father Robert Reyes at the Manila North Cemetery to encourage the public to keep the graveyards garbage-free as a sign of respect for our dearly departed ones and for Mother Earth herself.