EcoWaste Coalition Appeals Anew for Reduced Waste Generation on This Year’s Feast of the Black Nazarene

The EcoWaste Coalition renewed its appeal to Black Nazarene devotees who will still go to Quiapo Church despite the cancellation of the traditional "Traslacion" procession and “pahalik” not to leave any litter behind.

The waste and pollution watchdog group appealed to the devotees to take waste prevention to heart as they fulfill their “panata” amid the global COVID-19 and climate crisis.  

“As stewards of Mother Earth, we urge everyone, especially the devotees of the Black Nazarene, to take responsibility in ensuring that garbage will not again sully this celebration of faith,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Notwithstanding the advice of church and local government leaders for the faithful to pray at home or in their own parishes as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, many devotees are still expected to come in droves on January 9.

“We hope that this year’s celebration held against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic which has infected and killed thousands of Filipinos will adhere to the required health as well as environmental rules,” said Benosa.

National and local laws prohibiting and penalizing acts of littering are regrettably ignored in past celebrations of the Feast of the Black Nazarene leaving tons of garbage behind, lamented the EcoWaste Coalition.

For example, Manila’s Department of Public Services collected some 99 truckloads or 387 tons and 68 truckloads or 330 tons of garbage during the mammoth celebrations in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Aside from appealing to the devotees and vendors not to litter, the EcoWaste Coalition also requested food and water donors to move away from disposable containers.

“We appeal to benevolent individuals and groups who will offer food and water to the devotees to opt for reusable containers to reduce the disposal of single-use paper or plastic containers, which are often left in the streets and haul straight to the landfill.  For the sake of our ailing planet, please switch to reusables that can be reused many times over,” said Benosa.

Food leftovers, disposable food and water containers, plastic cutlery, plastic bags, bamboo sticks and cigarette butts are among the most littered waste materials in past re-enactment of the "Traslacion."

“We'll keep our fingers crossed that the faithful followers of the Black Nazarene will rise to the occasion and keep this year’s feast safe from COVID-19 and from recklessly disposed of garbage,” concluded Benosa.