In a joint appeal, Antipolo City Mayor Casimiro Ynares III and environmentalist Sonia Mendoza, President of the EcoWaste Coalition, encouraged the pilgrims to mind their trash as they perform their long walk to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.
“As we welcome visitors from near or far during the Holy Week, we earnestly ask for public cooperation in keeping the surroundings clean and tidy,” pleaded Ynares.
“While we plan to deploy as many street sweepers as we could, they will be no match to the millions of pilgrims who will trek to the Antipolo Cathedral on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday,” he explained.
“In fact, each and every pilgrim should mind their trash and not simply throw them on the streets even if our street sweepers will be working round-the-clock,” he pointed out.
For her part, Mendoza stated that “the penitential walk is no excuse for the faithful to spoil the surroundings with litter.”
“There is no acceptable reason to defile the environment no matter how tired you are after walking a considerable distance, especially for an act that is rooted to one’s spiritual belief,” she said.
“Please fulfil your vows in a respectful manner that will not pollute the environment. As the saying goes: cleanliness is next to godliness,” she added
Both Ynares and Mendoza expressed hope that their joint appeal will not fall on deaf ears and that this year’s “Alay-Lakad” will not be blighted with trash.
Ynares and Mendoza likewise reminded visitors to bring reusable bags for the pasalubong that are aplenty in Antipolo City to reduce plastic waste.
Based on the monitoring conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition for the past few years, cigarette filters, food packaging materials, plastic bags, bottles, cups and straws, and soiled papers are among the most littered items found along the “Alay-Lakad” routes.
Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, strictly prohibits and penalizes littering, an environmental offense that is also banned under Antipolo City Ordinance 2008-287, otherwise known as the “Basura Code.”