6 January 2020, Manila City/Quezon City. As the mammoth procession of the revered image of the Black Nazarene nears, government, church and civil society leaders have joined a rising chorus of voices seeking a waste-free re-enactment of the Traslacion this year.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno through his live weekly update “The Capital Report” via Facebook exhorted the public to keep the streets clean as the huge procession is conducted this coming Thursday from Luneta to Quiapo.
“I want the entire stretch of Traslacion (route) to be clear visually (of vendors and other obstructions),” he said, to ensure the safety of mostly barefoot devotees, especially from discarded street food bamboo sticks.
Monsignor Hernando Coronel, Rector of Quiapo Church likewise urged the devotees “to cut down on plastic waste and other discards for a cleaner and safer Traslacion.”
“Let us make the protection and preservation of the environment a key part of our responsibility and mission as devotees and followers of Christ,” he said.
Last Friday, environmental advocates led by the EcoWaste Coalition and Buklod Tao, together with church groups, gathered at Plaza Miranda to encourage Black Nazarene devotees to aim for a plastic-free and trash-less observance of the Traslacion.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that this year’s Traslacion will depart from the habitual trashing of Luneta and the processional route as devotees carry out their spiritual vows in an eco-friendly manner. Littering, which has somewhat become part of the religious feast, is a bad habit that everyone has to unlearn and break away from,” said Noli Abinales, Founder of Buklod Tao and member of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Board of Directors.
For his part, Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition, encouraged the faithful to live out their faith by keeping the surroundings trash-free, which could inspire others — believers and non-believers — to follow.
“We ask the faithful to express and live their faith in a way that will protect the environment from preventable pollutants such as disposable plastics,” he said.
“We remain hopeful that the repeated reminders from all quarters to cut back on plastic waste and other discards will not again fall on deaf ears,” he added.
The EcoWaste Coalition, an advocacy group for a zero waste and toxics-free society, has repeatedly pointed out that the arbitrary production, consumption and disposal of single-use plastics (SUPs), which are derived from fossil fuels, is a serious public health and environmental issue.
SUPs, the group pointed out, generate greenhouse gases at every phase of their lifecycle, clog storm drains, pollute rivers and seas, threaten marine life, and cause the spread of chemical pollutants across the globe, the group said.