EcoWaste Coalition Cites Reduced Littering in Pilgrimage Sites, But Insists No Amount of Litter is Acceptable
The cancellation of the penitential walk and the restrictions on camping, overnight stay and picnicking have resulted in decreased incidents of littering in popular pilgrimage sites last Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
The EcoWaste Coalition made this observation after witnessing reduced littering at the National Shrine of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Antipolo City), the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy (Marilao, Bulacan) and the Our Lady of Loudes Grotto (San Jose del Monte City).
The said pilgrimage sites were relatively clean compared to pre-pandemic periods that saw these favorite Holy Week destinations teeming with visitors as well as with garbage in almost every nook and cranny.
The Antipolo local government unit in early March cancelled the Alay-Lakad penitential walk and other mass gatherings as a COVID-19 health and safety protection measure. Before the onslaught of the pandemic, Alay-Lakay attracted hundreds of thousands of devotees leaving a trail of litter from Pasig City to Antipolo City to the dismay of the EcoWaste Coalition.
On Friday morning, the EcoWaste Coalition found the Antipolo Cathedral and its environs with less trash compared to pre-pandemic years. Among the littered items at the church patio were used face masks, empty plastic bottles, snack wrappers, and promotional paper fans and plastic tarpaulins of some candidates for upcoming elections.
|At the National Shrine of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, the National Shrine of Divine Mercy, and the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, the group found some trash recklessly thrown on the ground and near plants and trees. ECOWASTE COALITION.|
At the National Shrine of Divine Mercy and the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, the group found some trash recklessly thrown on the ground and near plants and trees. While definitely less compared to previous years due to the restrictions on camping, overnight stay and picnicking, no amount of litter is acceptable especially in religious sites, the group asserted, citing the adage “cleanliness is next to godliness.”
On the other hand, the EcoWaste Coalition found the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Makati City), National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help (Parañaque City), and the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (Quezon City) litter-free. The group also found the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Manila City) almost litter free.
“With or without COVID-19 restrictions, we hope more people will commit to keeping all our faith-inspired activities simple and litter-free,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, a staunch advocate for a zero waste and toxics-free society.
Preventing waste and reducing its volume and toxicity is a practical way through which Filipinos can manifest their appreciation and respect for Mother Earth, and their support for a sustainable future for all in accordance with Pope Francis's encyclical letter "Laudato Si," and the bishops' call for ecological conversion amid the climate emergency, the group said.
To recall, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines issued a pastoral letter in 2019 calling for ecological conversion, which, among other things, exhorted the dioceses and the faithful "to live the spirit and principles of Laudato Si through concrete ecological actions," including "eliminating single-use plastics."