Two environmental and health organizations today urged the faithful to make their observance of Lent this year litter-free, as well as smoke-free.
Through a joint press release, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance, Philippines (FCAP) said that preventing litter and smoke during the Holy Week and beyond is good for the health and the environment.
“We appeal to the faithful to aim for zero litter as they recall the passion of Christ, seek forgiveness for past sins and renew their faith through various rites during the Holy Week,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Please avoid all forms of littering when you go on pilgrimage to churches and shrines and participate in Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) and Santo Entierro (Holy Interment) processions and the Easter Sunday pre-dawn Salubong re-enacting the meeting of the Risen Christ with Virgin Mary,” she said.
The group expressed its hope that the penitential walk to Antipolo City on Maundy Thursday will not again be tarnished by litterbugs who leave a carpet of trash along the route year in and year out.
“We urge the faithful to turn away from cigarette smoking for their health and well-being,” said Dr. Maria Encarnita Limpin, Executive Director, FCAP.
“Please don’t pollute the Holy Week activities, including the Alay Lakad, Pabasa and the processions, with hazardous smoke that can put your health and the health of those around you at risk,” she said.
“We further advise those who are into e-cigarettes not to smoke in public as this can expose other people to secondhand emissions. Some studies have detected carcinogenic substances like benzene, formaldehyde and tobacco-specific nitrosamines from such emissions,” Limpin, who is also a regent at the Philippine College of Physicians, added.
Both the EcoWaste Coalition and FCAP enjoined national and local government agencies to fully enforce the relevant prohibitions against littering and smoking under Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, and Republic Act 9211, the Tobacco Regulation Act, respectively.