The environmental watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition bewailed the dismal failure of many Lenten pilgrims to put the familiar saying “cleanliness is next to godliness” into practice.
The group cited the chronic littering that again sullied the roads leading to the Antipolo Cathedral that enshrines the revered Marian image of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.
“For the nth year, littering reared its ugly head as tens of thousands of people braved searing heat on Maundy Thursday to perform their penitential ‘Alay-Lakad’ to Antipolo City,” lamented Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Litterbugs had a field day tossing all types of rubbish from cigarette butts, snack wrappers, plastic bags and bottles, paper cups and bowls to bamboo skewers and coconut fronds,” she said.
The places were pilgrims flocked to rest, particularly the open spaces fronting shopping malls and convenience stores and street gutters, were dotted with litter.
“Even the hallowed grounds of the Antipolo Cathedral were not spared,” she said.
At daybreak on Good Friday, the group found the church environs and the M.L. Quezon and P. Oliveros Streets strewn with soiled newspapers and other discards. Photos of the littered church and its vicinity can be viewed at http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com
“It’s time for the faithful to seriously take to heart what Pope Francis said in Laudato Si that ‘the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth’ and ditch the dumping habit,” Lucero said.
“Dumping defiles the environment and threatens the public health,” she emphasized.
While exasperated by the apparent lack of environmental concern of some pilgrims, the EcoWaste Coalition did not fail to admire the street cleaners from the Antipolo City Environment and Waste Management Office, who patiently picked up after the litterbugs.
“The city proper would have become a pigsty if not for the 24-hour round the clock sweeping by the city personnel,” Lucero said.
The group likewise applauded the dozens of waste pickers who collected discarded plastic bottles and boxes to sell to junk shops.
“Their oft-ignored service for the environment has, among other things, reduced the volume of trash sent to the dump,” Lucero pointed out.
Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition scored the numerous election campaign posters from national and local politicians and party list groups that were attached to fences and lamp posts or plastered on the walls along Ortigas Avenue Extension and Juan Sumulong Highway.
“The political tarpaulins appeared to be competing for the pilgrims’ attention,” Lucero observed.
“While the candidates were not physically present, their posters were all over the streets and doing exactly the campaigning for them,” she said.