"Hallowaste” Monster Draws Attention to Massive Littering in Cemeteries (EcoWaste Coalition Reiterates Its Appeal to the Public Not to Turn Cemeteries into Dumps)

In a bid to call attention to the widespread littering in both public and private cemeteries as Undas is observed nationwide, the EcoWaste Coalition today let loose a monster aptly called “Hallowaste.”

In an advocacy event for a garbage-free Undas, the group presented a youth volunteer donning a costume made of trash, including a bucket overflowing with discarded plastics, impersonating visitors who often leave their rubbish in the cemeteries.

Held at the Manila North Cemetery, the group appealed to the general public not to imitate “Hallowaste,” the omnipresent cemetery litterbug, who recklessly leaves mound of trash in consecrated site.

“We have come here today to ask cemetery visitors not to mimic the ubiquitous ‘Hallowaste’ monster.  Please show some respect for the dead by not dropping any litter in the hallowed ground,’ said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

"We need the full cooperation of all visitors to keep the park clean and tidy.  We need the help from everyone to ensure a waste-free environment as millions pay homage to their departed relatives,” said Daniel Tan, Director of Manila North Cemetery, one of the country's oldest and largest public cemeteries. 

"We encourage the public to make the commemoration of All Saints and All Souls Days a prayerful and respectful experience.  Let us show our love and reverence to our dearly departed by keeping the entire cemetery grounds litter-free," said Eric Jamin,  representative of the Diocese of Caloocan Ecology Ministry.

To hammer home their call for a waste-free and toxic-free Undas, youth performers from the MASKARA-Green Stage Filipinas acted out the wasteful habits of cemetery visitors, including the unchecked use of disposable items and single-use plastic bags that end up being dumped or burned.

The group also danced to the tune of the popular “Baby Shark” song to encourage the public to actively back efforts to prevent and reduce cemetery garbage.

The event concluded with volunteers from the EcoWaste Coalition sprucing up the Panteon de los Veteranos de la Revolucion (Mausoleum of the Veterans of the Revolution) inside the Manila North Cemetery.  The group gave the mausoleum, a national historical monument, a fresh coat of paint using a lead safe paint courtesy of Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines, Inc.

The EcoWaste Coalition also asked cemetery authorities to strictly enforce Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, in their areas of supervision.
R.A. 9003 explicitly bans and penalizes littering, open dumping, open burning and other unsafe waste disposal practices.

The group also requested adjacent barangays to take proactive waste prevention and reduction measures, including deploying adequate number of personnel and volunteers to ensure the cleanliness of the cemetery environs. 

Also, barangay officials should require vendors to minimize their waste generation by avoiding the use of disposable containers, bags, straws and by providing customers with proper bins for their discards.

Among the groups that participated in the said event organized by the EcoWaste Coalition were the Manila North Cemetery Administration, Manila Health Department (Sanitation Division), Maskara-Green Stage Filipinas, Diocese of Caloocan Ecology Ministry, Our Lady of Angels Seminary, San Roque Parish, and Tzu Chi Foundation.


EcoWaste Coalition's Ten-Point Green Cemetery Etiquette (Cemetequette)

1. Spruce up and redecorate the grave of your departed ones in a safe and ecological manner without using leaded paints and without  burning or dumping trash by the sidewalk or on other people’s tombs.

2. Put your discards into the recycling bins if available, or bring them home for proper sorting, reusing, recycling or composting

3. Keep the resting place of your loved ones liter-free by not throwing cigarette butts, candy wrappers, discarded packaging, fruit peels, etc. on the ground. 

4. Don’t add to the smoke from burning candles by not smoking or vaping in the cemetery. 

5.  Choose clean-burning candles and do not let the plastic receptacles or holders to burn. Never use candles with lead-cored wicks, which could pose a lead poisoning hazard, especially to young children.

6. Offer local fresh flowers, not plastic ones, or consider bringing potted plants and flowers instead.  Avoid wrapping floral or plant offerings in plastic, which will sooner or later end up as trash.

7. Bring your own water jug to avoid purchasing bottled water. 

8. For waste-free home-prepared meals, use reusable carriers, containers, and utensils.  

9.  Bring only food and beverage that you can consume to avoid spoilage or wastage. 

10. Bring 
bayong or other reusable bags to carry your stuff and purchases, and refuse plastic bags and wrappers from vendors.