Palm fronds on sale outside the Parish of the Holy Cross in Makati City, 25 March 2018.
Environmental and health groups have jointly urged the public to make the Holy Week a litter-free and smoke-free affirmation of our vibrant Christian faith.
Through a press release issued on Palm Sunday, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance, Philippines (FCAP) told the public that preventing litter and smoke pollution during the solemn days and beyond will do good for human health and the environment.
“We urge the faithful not to litter as we recall the passion of Christ, atone for past wrongs, and renew our faith through time-honored traditions and rites during the Holy Week,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We particularly appeal to those joining the penitential walk to
and those visiting popular
pilgrimage sites to mind their trash. As stewards or caretakers of
God’s creation, it is our shared responsibility to demonstrate respect for the
environment, especially when performing faith-based activities,” he added. Antipolo City
Dr. Maria Encarnita Limpin, Executive Director, FCAP, appealed to smokers to observe the Holy Week in a smoke-free atmosphere for their health and the health of others.
“Tobacco smoke contains toxic and poisonous chemicals, including cancer-causing substances, which can pose harm and death to both smokers and non-smokers. By keeping the environment free of dangerous tobacco smoke, we reduce exposure to second-hand smoke and thus reducing the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and other smoking-related ailments,” she pointed out.
Alejandre added “not smoking during the Holy Week will reduce the number of cigarette butts thrown on the streets that end up in dumpsites, waterways and the oceans and pose a toxic hazard to the environment, including aquatic life.”
The EcoWaste Coalition and FCAP likewise appealed to law enforcers to implement the provisions against littering under Republic Act 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act) and against smoking as per Republic Act 9211 (Tobacco Regulation Act) and Executive Order No. 26 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in May 2016.
“Faith-inspired activities are not exempted from abiding by our anti-littering and anti-smoking laws and regulations that are meant to promote and uphold the public health and safety,” the groups said.