10 January 2018

Trash Taints "Generally Peaceful" Traslacion (Trash-less Feast of the Black Nazarene Remains an Elusive Dream - Environmental Watch Group)

“Magpasalamat, hindi magkalat.”

The waste and pollution watch group EcoWaste Coalition made this remark as it bewailed the widespread littering that again tainted the 22-hour mammoth procession in reverence for the Black Nazarene.

“We are deeply saddened by the sight of garbage in Rizal Park where the procession of the venerated image began following an all-night vigil, and along the processional route,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. 

“The lack of environmental concern has again stained the awe-inspiring expression of faith and trust in the Black Nazarene that devotees ask for help to solve personal or family issues, including health and financial troubles that could have been caused or worsened by a degraded and polluted environment,” he added. 

“Our plea for a trash-less Traslacion remains an elusive dream,” he lamented. “We hope devotees will heed our appeal for waste prevention and reduction next year.”

At the Rizal Park, the devotees left a huge mess for government workers and for church and school volunteers to clean up, observed Alejandre.

Some of the photos taken by the group’s Basura Patrollers at Rizal Park and Quiapo can be seen here:
Rizal Park:


At the open area fronting the Quirino Grandstand, the group’s Basura Patrollers saw heaps of garbage consisting of corrugated boxes, foils, newspapers and plastics used as sleeping mats; food and beverage packaging such as 3-in-1 coffee sachets, cup noodles, paper and plastic cups and polystyrene containers; food leftovers; plastic bags; and cigarette butts.  

“The overnight vigil was a good opportunity for families to bond together and for the children to get to know the Black Nazarene.  Unfortunately, many simply dumped their discards at the very spot where they spent the night,” Alejandre said.

While portable toilets were available for free use by the public, some devotees chose to urinate in the open, or pee in pet bottles.

The group also assailed the sale and use of cigarettes inside the Rizal Park, which is a “no smoking zone.”  
As reported by the group’s Basura Patrollers, the streets of Quiapo were teeming not only with people, but also with garbage, including discarded plastic bags  and polystyrene food containers that are supposedly restricted under Manila City Ordinance 8282.

Plastic bottles and polystyrene food containers, including those given by big-hearted individuals, were left lying in sidewalks and street gutters.

Meanwhile, the group thanked the waste pickers who patiently retrieved recyclable items left by the devotees such as PET bottles (except those with urine), corrugated boards and others that can be sold to junk shops.   The retrieval of recyclables reduces the volume of waste and prevent valuable resources from being hauled to the dump.  

It likewise lauded the hundreds of waste and sanitation workers from national and local government agencies, as well as the Green Brigade volunteers of Quiapo Church from various parishes and schools, for picking up the garbage left by devotees and vendors alike.


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