The waste and pollution watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition decried the Christmas Day litter that again defiled the country’s premier park.
“Litterbugs carelessly left behind assorted trash as if Rizal Park was their dumpsite,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Littering is disrespectful to all park visitors and to our national hero Jose Rizal who was an environmental health champion of his time,” she said.
As a nature lover, Rizal, particularly during his period of exile in Dapitan, carried out activities benefiting the people and the environment such as the aqueduct from a mountain stream to give town residents access to clean water, the draining of swamps to control the breeding of malaria mosquitoes, the street lighting system through coconut oil lamps, and the beautification of the central plaza.
“The garbage left by the visitors would have angered Rizal, the environmentalist, possibly driving him to write ‘Waste Not’ as a sequel to ‘Noli Me Tangere’ (touch me not),” she said.
Based on initial reports, the National Park Development Committee (NPDC), which manages Rizal Park, removed some 10 truckloads of rubbish from the sprawling park, which drew about 500,000 visitors on December 24 and 25.
“The huge turnout of visitors was no match to the limited number of garbage sweepers and haulers who have to work extra hours to sweep the area clean,” she pointed out.
“It’s not fair for litterbugs to leave the park in a mess. Littering is unethical and unlawful, too,” she added.
Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, prohibits littering and violators can be can be fined from P300 to P1,000, asked to render community service or be required to pay the fine as well as perform community service.
As the public concert at Rizal Park on December 31 is projected to lure a big number of New Year revelers, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to all visitors to mind their trash and help the NPDC in keeping the park clean and safe.
“Please throw your trash in the designated bins, or better still bring it home for proper recycling or disposal,” Lucero said.
“Let us not bury Rizal under a carpet of trash,” she stated.