EcoWaste Coalition Rallies the Black Nazarene Devotees to Hold Trash-Free “Traslacion” This Year

A waste and pollution watchdog group today appealed to the faithful to express their devotion to the venerated Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno with a trash-free observance of the “Traslacion” on January 9.

A trash-free “Traslacion,” which commemorates the transfer of the sanctified image of the Black Nazarene from Luneta to Quiapo, is in order following the issuance of the encyclical letter “Laudato Si” by Pope Francis where he deplored the unrestrained pollution of Mother Earth and challenged everyone “to protect our common home.”

“Let not the creeping throw away culture that Pope Francis has repeatedly denounced disgrace anew our age-old devotion to the Black Nazarene,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We expect the faithful to heed the papal call for ‘ecological conversion’ and display such changeover by making this year’s ‘Traslacion’ trash-free,” she added.

“Let it not be said that the faithful came in hordes to glorify the Black Nazarene but turned Luneta and Quiapo, to borrow a phrase from ‘Laudato Si, into an ‘immense pile of filth’,” she emphasized.

The group noted that the garbage generated from the commemorative event that draws millions of Black Nazarene devotees has been increasing through the years.

Citing government data, 336 tons of garbage in 2014 and 413 tons in 2015 were collected along the processional trail from Rizal Park to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, popularly known as the Quiapo Church

As January is also observed as the “Zero Waste Month” as per Presidential Proclamation 760, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the Archdiocese of Manila, City Government of Manila, Metro Manila Development Authority and civil society groups to work hand in hand in making the “Traslacion” trash-free.

“A trash-free Traslacion would be a fitting contribution to the national goal of preventing and reducing the generation of garbage and inculcating environmental responsibility among the citizens,” Lucero said.

As per yearly monitoring by EcoWaste Coalition’s Basura Patrollers, the most discarded items during the Black Nazarene feast are cigarette butts, plastic bags, cups, bottles and straws, polystyrene food and beverage containers, bamboo skewers and food wastes.

Noting that this year is also an election year, the EcoWaste Coalition cautioned national and local politicians from taking advantage of the Black Nazarene feast as a vehicle for their political ambitions. 

“We ask all politicos not to engage in ‘tarpaulitics’ and to keep Plaza Miranda and the processional route tarpaulin-free,” Lucero stated.

‘Tarpaulitics,’ according to the EcoWaste Coalition, is the shameless use of tarpaulins to publicize the faces and names of politicians for the purpose of establishing familiarity and support among the  voters.

In lieu of tarpaulins, which only add to the fiesta garbage, the EcoWaste Coalition asked earnest political wannabes to support efforts to make the “Traslacion” trash-free such as by: 

- mobilizing volunteers to keep the processional trail and the entire Quiapo district “clean and green”

- providing for extra portable toilets and garbage bins and paying for personnel who will look after the toilets and the bins.

- providing devotees with free meals in biodegradable or reusable packaging.