A non-profit environmental watchdog group
lamented the pervasive littering that again tainted the nation’s long-standing
tradition of remembering beloved deceased family members and friends.
The EcoWaste Coalition, which had earlier reminded the faithful that cemeteries
are places of prayer not dumpsites, decried the throw-away “basurapamore” mania
that reared its ugly head and sullied hallowed resting places.
On Sunday, the group sent its Basura Patrollers or litter monitors to 18 public
and private cemeteries in 12 local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila
(Caloocan, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Parañaque, Pasay,
San Juan, Taguig and Quezon Cities and Pateros), 1 LGU in Rizal (Angono) and 1
LGU in Cavite (Dasmariñas City).
Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition, singled out the
ban on littering as “the most ignored and violated provision of Republic Act
9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act as if the law does not matter
at all during Undas.”
“Instead of just leaving flowers and prayers, many cemetery visitors left their
trash behind with no sense of environmental responsibility. Some may
think that doing this is tolerable as there are sweepers to clean after. We say this is not acceptable as littering
desecrates the cemeteries and disrespects the dead as well as the living,” she
The group’s Basura Patrollers listed the following as among the most frequently
thrown waste materials in the cemeteries: plastic bags and wrappers, plastic
cups, bottles and straws, snack packs, polystyrene food and drink containers,
disposable paper and plastic plates, pizza boxes, newspapers and cigarette
food and water containers, candle receptacles and flower vases may later serve
as breeding sites for dengue-carrying
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which can reproduce on trash and clear stagnant water,
the group warned.
“This year we give the ‘Basurapamore’ award to cemeteries with bursting garbage
bags and bins and littered gutters and streets,” said Aileen Lucero,
Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition. Among the recipients were Bagbag
Public Cemetery-Quezon City, Manila Memorial Park- Dasmariñas, Manila Memorial
Park-Holy Cross, Manila Memorial Park-Parañaque, Manila North Cemetery and
Manila South Cemetery.
“On the other hand, we give cemeteries with minimal or isolated incidents of
littering the ‘May Pag-asa’ award,” she continued. Recipients included
the Angono Public Cemetery, Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne Cemetery-Taguig, Loyola Memorial Park-Marikina, Loyola Memorial Park-
Parañaque, Paradise Private Cemetery-Mandaluyong, San
Felipe Neri Catholic Cemetery-Mandaluyong and San Juan City Cemetery.
The EcoWaste Coalition also cited the hardworking Tzu Chi Foundation recycling
volunteers, street sweepers and waste pickers for their environmental services
and gave them the “Masipag” award.
Manila Memorial Park-Parañaque was given “PakoNOmore” award for heeding the
EcoWaste Coalition’s call to stop the nailing of commercial and parking
signages on trees. This cemetery got the “Pako” award from the group in
Today, November 2, volunteers from the EcoWaste Coalition and the Ecology
Ministry of the Parish of San Roque de Manila went back to the Manila North
Cemetery to help with the cleanup drive.
The EcoWaste Coalition last October 26 organized a “BasuRUN” led by “running
priest” Father Robert Reyes at the Manila North Cemetery to encourage the public to keep the graveyards garbage-free
as a sign of respect for our dearly departed ones and for Mother Earth herself.