Note: All photos above were taken at Bagbag Cemetery, Quezon City on 1 November 2016.
The EcoWaste Coalition, a watch group on waste and pollution, lamented the throw-away culture that again typified the annual observance of Undas.
“The culture of throwing discards wherever and whenever it is convenient again spoiled our time-honored tradition of remembering our departed relatives,” noted Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Many people still litter, rain or shine. The repeated reminders from government, church, political and environmental leaders were no match for these hardened litterbugs,” she added.
Based on the group’s monitoring of 15 private and public cemeteries in Metro Manila and in Cavite and Rizal, many visitors failed to bring home their discards for proper recycling and disposal at home.
The group bewailed the rampant littering in the Caloocan Public Cemetery in Caloocan City, Manila North Cemetery in Manila City, Manila South Cemetery in Makati City, Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City and the Bagbag Cemetery in Quezon City.
Bagbag Cemetery garnered the “Basurapamore” tag from the group for being the most littered among the 15 cemeteries visited by the group. Photos of Bagbag’s littered tombs, streets and alleys, copies of which were furnished to the Office of Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, can be viewed at the EcoWaste blog (http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com)
“Bagbag cemetery was filled with rubbish strewn all over the place. In many cases, we saw people sitting next to piles of garbage. It was the most pitiful sight we have seen during our Undas trash monitoring this year,” lamented Lucero.
In an e-mail sent this morning to Mayor Bautista, the group requested the Quezon City Government to hasten the completion of Bagbag Cemetery's development plan and to enforce a suitable system for ecological waste management in next year's commemoration of Undas.
Among the discards typically left by cemetery visitors in Bagbag and other cemeteries were disposable food and beverage containers (both paper and plastic), food leftovers, snack packs, cigarette butts and soiled papers. The food offerings for the deceased only added to the inadequate sanitation in most cemeteries.
Sidewalks, street corners, vacant lots and desolated graves became instant dumping grounds for uncaring visitors, the EcoWaste Coalition observed.
On the other hand, the group described as “generally clean” the Malabon and Tugatog Cemeteries in Malabon City, Loyola Memorial Park and Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City, Hagonoy, St. Anne and Tipas Cemeteries in Taguig City, Carmona Public Cemetery and Santuario de Carmona in Carmona, Cavite and the Angono Municipal Cemetery in Angono, Rizal.
“Littering in these cemeteries was by and large minimal. Thanks to caring visitors who chose not to litter and not to abandon their discards in the hallowed grounds of the cemeteries,” Lucero said.
The group commended local authorities, cemetery administrators and the Metro Manila Development Authority for deploying more street cleaners who worked round the clock to remove the trash off the streets and sidewalks.
“We also thank the waste pickers and the eco-volunteers from the Tzu Chi Foundation and other civic groups for collecting valuable recyclable materials such as PET bottles and aluminum and tin cans, which further reduce the quantity of trash requiring final disposal,” Lucero further said.
The EcoWaste Coalition insisted that it is unacceptable to leave trash, big or small, in the final resting place of the dead.
“It’s OK to leave flowers in the cemetery, but not garbage,” Lucero said.
“The rising cases of Aedes aegypti-related diseases such as the dreaded Zika virus infection should discourage everyone from recklessly throwing water-holding containers where mosquitoes can breed,” she added.