EcoWaste Coalition Decries Environmental Indifference of Some Antipolo Lenten Trekkers

bewailed the apparent display of ecological apathy that again spoiled the
annual pilgrimage to Antipolo on Maundy Thursday despite the joint appeal by
the Antipolo City Government and the EcoWaste Coalition for a litter-free “Alay-Lakad.”

“By sunrise of Good Friday, we found the hallowed grounds of the Antipolo
Cathedral, the adjacent Sumulong Park and the streets leading to the city proper
full of trash,” observed Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition, a
waste and pollution watchdog.

“The cascade of young people from various communities and parishes walking
together was a sight to behold, but the carpet of garbage they left was ugly
and heartbreaking,” she said.

“The perennial trashing of the Alay-Lakad, we’re sorry to say, bring shame on a
faith-inspired act of atonement and renewal,” she added.

The most common
discards found scattered on the grounds were cigarette filters, food and
beverage containers, snack packets, plastic bags, bottles and cups, used
newspapers and food waste that dozens of blue-clad government street cleaners
uncomplainingly cleared with their hands and brooms.

As expected, the most littered places were those with high human traffic like
the Cainta and Tikling junctions, the
open spaces in front of shopping malls and convenience stores, and areas where
vendors abound and people stopped by to rest, quench their thirst or have
something to eat.

Within the premises of the Antipolo Cathedral and the nearby Sumulong Park,
pilgrims simply abandoned their improvised beddings of newspapers and
corrugated boxes despite the availability of garbage bins, the group noted.

While critical of the litterbugs among the devotees, the EcoWaste Coalition
lauded the environmentally-beneficial work of waste pickers who patiently collected
the discarded paper and plastic recyclables to sell.

The group likewise thanked the Antipolo City Environment and Waste Management
Office for deploying street cleaners who patiently picked up people’s trash.

The EcoWaste Coalition once again reminded the public that R.A. 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste
Management Act, bans and punishes littering and other prohibited acts.

Violators  can be fined P300 to P1,000, compelled to render community
service at the local government unit (LGU) where the act was committed or be
required to pay the fine as well as perform community service.