28 October 2018, Caloocan City/Quezon City. The EcoWaste Coalition, a zero waste advocacy group, has again appealed to the general public to show respect for the dead as millions are set to visit the cemeteries next week.
Together with Caritas Kalookan, the group gathered today at La Loma Catholic Cemetery to promote ecological practices that should help in reducing waste and pollution in cemeteries on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
With a green banner that says “Igalang ang Patay, Igalang ang Kalikasan” on the background, the participants prayed, performed a skit, and listened to calls for a respectful observance of Undas.
“Year in and year out, visitors leave tons of garbage in cemeteries as if littering is a customary ritual that has to happen as we remember our dearly departed,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“It is as if litterbugs are having a field day unmindful of the consequences of their action, which is disrespectful to fellow visitors and to the environment as well,” he added.
Past monitoring by the group’s Basura Patrollers revealed that visitors often treat cemeteries as dumpsites for discarded food and food packaging, plastic bottles, soiled papers, and cigarette filters.
The groups emphasized that Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, prohibits the littering, dumping and burning of trash that should be strictly enforced within and outside the cemeteries.
As some candidates may take advantage of the occasion to entice voters to support them in the May 2019 polls, the EcoWaste Coalition urged well-meaning politicians not to engage in political propaganda in cemeteries.
Instead of distributing leaflets and hanging tarpaulins with their names and faces, the group urged political wannabes to deploy or support volunteers who can assist in keeping cemeteries litter-free.
To educate the public on proper cemetery etiquette, members of the Catholic Charismatic Bible Apostolate performed a skit showing how wasteful, polluting and disrespectful practices are tainting the time-honored tradition of remembering the dead.
Among the ecological and ethical practices being promoted by the groups include the following:
- Only lit clean-burning candles and do not let the plastic holders or receptacles to burn. Don’t use candles with lead-cored wicks that can emit dangerous fumes.
- Bring fresh local flowers or potted plants as offerings. Refrain from wrapping them in plastic, which only end up as trash.
- Carry your own water container to avoid buying bottled water.
- Bring just enough food and beverage to avoid spoilage or wastage.
- Use reusable, not disposable, cups, plates, and utensils.
- Opt for bayong or other reusable carry bags, and decline plastic bags and wrappers from vendors.
- Don’t throw food and beverage packaging, food leftovers, cigarette butts and other discards on the ground.
- Put your discards into the recycling bins if available, or bring them home for proper sorting, reusing, recycling or composting
- Keep the urinal or toilet bowl clean as a courtesy to the next user. Do not defecate or urinate in public places.
- As a general courtesy, don’t smoke or vape in the cemetery.