Church and Environmental Leaders Bat for “Eco Simple Christmas” amid Pablo Tragedy

The onset of the nine-day Simbang Gabiin anticipation of Christmas should encourage the faithful to prepare for an ecological and simple celebration of the birth of Child Jesus, a Catholic Bishop and an environmental watchdog said.

Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, Jr. and the EcoWaste Coalition pleaded for “eco simple” Christmas in wake of typhoon Pablo’s devastation that affected 591,090 families, or some 5,782,730 people, including 955 fatalities, 2,662 injured and 841 missing as of December 15

“An ‘eco simple’ observance of Christmas will be sensitive to the heartbreaking sufferings of typhoon-stricken families in the affected areas of Mindanao and the need for environmental stewardship now more than ever,” Bishop Iñiguez said.

“The simplicity of the manger should inspire us all to be somber and charitable in these difficult times,” the head of the Public Affairs Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference added.

“By being ‘eco simple,’ we save funds that can be used to beef up ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts, while helping restore our damaged ecosystems through resource conservation, pollution prevention and zero waste,” said Edwin Alejo, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. 

Some “eco simple” suggestions that can save valuable pesos to help the typhoon-affected families meet their basic human needs, include :

1. Calling off lavish Christmas parties and get-togethers.

2. Cancelling fireworks displays.

3. Abandoning plans to lit firecrackers.
4. Moderating shopping expenses.

5. Reusing or recycling holiday decorations.

6. Opting for austere Noche Buena and Media Noche celebrations.

7. Shelving out-of-town, out-of-country holidays.

8. Shortening the use of Christmas lights.

One tangible benefit of an ‘eco simple’celebration of Christmas will be the reduction of holiday trash, or “holitrash,”resulting from the unrestrained consumption and disposal during the extended festivities, the EcoWaste Coalition pointed out.

Daily waste generation, especially in highly urbanized areas like Metro Manila, swells with increased consumption of goods and services due to the holiday fever, the group noted.

According to the National Solid Waste Management Commission, Metro Manila produces some 8,000 tons of garbage daily, which is over 22% of the nationwide daily waste generation of 35,430 tons.

Of the 8,000 tons of garbage from Metro Manila’s 17 local government units, 50% are reportedly food and organic discards, 25% plastics, 12% paper, 5% metals, 5% metals, 3% glass, 1% hazardous waste and 4% residual waste.

“With ‘eco simple’ Christmas, we promote ecological values leading to a cut in the volume and toxicity of what we throw away,” the EcoWaste said.