Public Cooperation Sought to Make the Papal Visit Basura-Free

Quezon City.  Fearing a repeat of the unrestrained littering that again stained the recently concluded feast of the Black Nazarene, a waste and pollution watchdog appealed to all citizens to restrain themselves from throwing trash on the ground.

With only few days left before the arrival of Pope Francis, the EcoWaste Coalition called for public cooperation to ensure that the papal activities will not leave a spread of trash unbefitting a “green pope” who has repeatedly spoken about the need to protect the environment.

“We appeal to the general public to take the Pope’s message  to heart and be the first to defend the environment from the throw-away culture that is dirtying and wasting the earth’s diminishing resources,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“Without public cooperation, the venues for the papal gatherings and the surrounding areas will quickly turn into instant dumps and toilets as the faithful flock to see the pope,” she warned.

“Let it not be said that the Filipino people rolled out a carpet of trash, instead of a green or red carpet, to welcome the pope,” she added.

Lucero admitted that no ecological system for waste management will work, particularly in large outdoor Masses set to take place on January 17 and 18 in Tacloban and Manila, if the public will not get involved.

To prevent the creation of waste near Tacloban Airport and Rizal Park where the mammoth assemblies will take place, as well as in the other venues for the papal activities, the EcoWaste Coalition has come up with some practical tips for the public to consider:

1.  Eat first at home to avoid eating out at the venue.
2.  If essential, pack a simple waste-free meal in a reusable container.
3.  Bring your own water in a reusable jug instead of buying bottled water or beverage on site.
4.  Carry a litter bag in your pocket, which should come in handy if there is no bin nearby.
5.  Bring a foldable reusable bag for things that you may want to bring home from the event.
6.  Decline brochures, flyers and handouts that you will not read and keep.
7.  Do not light a cigarette and smoke, particularly in Rizal Park and other no smoking venues. 8.  Never litter, not even a single candy wrapper.
9.  Support waste reduction efforts in the venue and persuade others to do the same.
Preventing and reducing waste during the papal activities will yield a number of benefits that will surely elate Pope Francis and Mother Earth, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

These benefits include inculcating environmental awareness and instilling positive change among the participants, preventing recyclable and compostable discards from being sent to dumps, landfills or incinerators for disposal, spending less for waste hauling, and reducing greenhouse gases from waste management.