As the preparations for the feast of the Black Nazarene go full blast, environmental groups asked devout Catholics to take the lead in ensuring a trash-less Traslacion on Saturday.
On Thursday, the EcoWaste Coalition, together with Buklod Tao and the Cavite Green Coalition, gathered in front of the Quiapo Church in a bid to generate support for a trash-less procession as an expression of devotees’ faith and gratitude to the Black Nazarene.
“Time after time, we find the solemn feast of the Black Nazarene being despoiled by garbage carelessly thrown by the devotees, vendors and others who come to partake in this venerable tradition every January, which, ironically, is also the Zero Waste Month,” lamented Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We hope it will be entirely different this time and that everyone will do one’s bit and combine devotion with environmental protection,” she said.
Truckloads upon truckloads of trash were collected in past events re-enacting the transfer of the revered image of the Black Nazarene from Luneta to Quiapo that saw the processional path speckled with discards.
Some 336 tons and 413 tons of mixed garbage were collected in 2014 and 2015, respectively, along the Traslacion route from Rizal Park to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo.
“An ecological profession of our faith will be a concrete response to the poignant plea by Pope Francis for action to protect ‘our common home’ in light of deepening environmental degradation and pollution around the world,” said Father Robert Reyes, OFM.
In “Laudato Si,” the historic encyclical on environment and human ecology, the Pope lamented that “the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” adding that “in many parts of the planet, the… once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”
“Let us heed the Pope’s call to nurture and protect our common home and break free from the unashamed littering that defiles the Traslacion and our other faith-inspired pursuits,” said Reyes, a zero waste advocate.
“As one of the top disaster-prone countries on earth, we need to outgrow bad practices such as the indiscriminate dumping of garbage on the streets and elsewhere that only aggravates our vulnerability to floods and other calamities,” he added.
“As stewards of God’s Creation, we are called by the Black Nazarene to watch over and protect the environment,” the groups proclaimed.
To demonstrate the beauty and necessity of a trash-less Traslacion, the groups handed out maroon-green ribbons to passersby. Maroon symbolizes the people’s long-standing devotion to the Black Nazarene, and the green signifies the nurturing blessings of Mother Earth that we ought to care for.
Towards a cleaner and greener feast of the Black Nazarene, the groups requested the devotees to consider the following reminders:
1. Observe the “no littering, no smoking” policy of Rizal Park.
2. As an act of penance, refrain from smoking on the day of Traslacion.
3. Properly dispose of your discards and do not simply toss them on the gutter, sidewalk or plant box.
4. Give back to the vendors used food and beverage containers, bamboo skewers and food wastes.
5. No spitting and urinating in public.