EcoWaste Coalition Frowns on Traslacion Litterbugs, Cheers Waste Pickers and Volunteers

The widespread littering that for the nth time blighted the Black Nazarene feast has drawn the ire of environmental health activists.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an advocate for a trash-less Traslacion, decried the assorted discards that have piled up along the processional route and in Quiapo district itself.

“We are saddened by the lack of respect for the environment by some of the devotees who simply left their discards lying on the ground for others to pick up,” lamented Ochie Tolentino, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“From Luneta to Quiapo, we managed to take photos of mounds of garbage that have kept waste workers and volunteers busy and tired,” she reported.

Among the common waste materials discarded  were food leftovers, food packaging, bamboo skewers, polystyrene containers, plastic bags, plastic bottles, soiled newspapers and cigarette butts, the group said. 

"We even found PET bottles and plastic bags filled with human urine in Luneta," Tolentino pointed out.

“It seems that the appeal for a trash-less Traslacion by no less than Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has fallen on deaf ears.  This is lamentable as January is also designated as Zero Waste month,” she noted.

Last Sunday, Estrada called on the devotees to “make the solemn feast more meaningful by keeping our environment clean,” stressing “we should refrain from carelessly throwing our garbage anywhere for it spoils the spirit of this revered tradition.”

“While we commend the government’s waste and sanitation workers and the eco-volunteers from the parishes and schools for picking up the litter that others have left, we think the public, particularly the devotees, should take full responsibility for their wastes, including their urine, and stop burdening others,” Tolentino said.

“Our responsibility to protect the integrity of creation must also be at the heart of our devotion to the Black Nazarene.  We can and we must profess our faith in a manner that will not defile and harm the environment,” she emphasized.

The sincere efforts of various groups and sectors to address the garbage problem posed by the mammoth feast did not escape the group’s attention.

The EcoWaste Coalition lauded the initiative of the Archdiocese of Manila Ecology Ministry to put up a waste management system at
 Rizal Park, venue of the traditional “pahalik” and vigil prior to the procession.

It praised the Philippine College of Criminology, other tertiary institutions and several parochial schools for mobilizing their students for the cleanup job.

It also recognized the combined action of
 Manila’s Department of Public Services and the Metro Manila Development Authority to deploy street sweepers along the Traslacion route.

Finally, the group thanked the informal waste recyclers for picking up the plastic bottles and other recyclable discards left by the devotees.