A waste and pollution watch groups today released what it calls the environmental “Cemetery Etiquette," or “Cemetequette,” ahead of All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day next week.
The EcoWaste Coalition issued the 10-point “Cemetequette” to promote environmental responsibility among cemetery visitors, stressing that the unashamed generation and dumping of garbage in burial grounds is disrespectful to the dead, as well as to the living.
“We have prepared the Cemetequette to remind Filipinos who will pay homage to their departed family members to mind their trash to avoid transforming cemeteries and columbaria into filthy dumps,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We hope the public will heed our call for a waste-less observance of Undas as preventing and reducing what we indiscriminately throw away is for the common good,” she added.
For a waste-free and toxic-free commemoration of Undas, the group urged the general public to observe the following eco-tips:
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.
“By observing these eco-tips, we avoid creating unsightly and stinking garbage that can turn off other visitors and, worst of all, pose health risks to everyone,” Lucero said.
The group likewise urged cemetery administrators to put up a practical system that will help visitors to manage their discards in an environmentally-sound way.
To augment their limited staff, cemeteries should tap the services of waste pickers and community volunteers who can assist with the enforcement of laws and ordinances on ecological solid waste management, the group said.