EcoWaste Coalition to Cemetery Litterbugs: Next Time Try Recycling

A waste and pollution watchdog
has decried the widespread littering that again vilified the annual
commemoration of Undas yesterday, even as two major cemeteries in Metro Manila
undertook improvements in terms of solid waste management.

The EcoWaste Coalition
lamented the blatant violation of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste
Management Act despite persistent appeals by the government and civil society
to avoid littering throughout the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’
The EcoWaste Coalition issued
the statement as its volunteers from Eco-Marino-Malabon City and the Diocese of
Caloocan Ecology Ministry participated in the early morning clean-up activities
at the Manila North Cemetery today.
“We grieve over the rampant
littering on November 1 that sullied the cemeteries and adjoining streets.
Although the volume of trash may not be as bad as in previous years, we find
the littering that again marred the observance of Undas regrettable as
cemeteries are hallowed places and should be garbage-free. Litterbugs should
mind their bad habits and try recycling next time,” lamented Aileen Lucero,
Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
Moreover, the EcoWaste
Coalition scored cemeteries, particularly the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque
City, for allowing tarpaulin ads to be nailed on trees in violation of R.A.
3571, which “prohibits the cutting, destroying or injuring of planted or
growing trees, flowering plants and shrubs or plants of scenic value along
public roads, in plazas, parks, school premises or in any other public ground.” 
“The tarps nailed on trees by
popular food outlets leave a bad taste in the mouth and should be removed at
once. This appalling act can cause stress to a tree and ultimately damage and
kill it,” said Lucero.

During the monitoring conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition in various cemeteries
in Metro Manila, the group observed that two major cemeteries – Manila North
Cemetery and Manila South Cemetery – were the two most improved in terms of
solid waste management as compared to last year.

“We commend the efforts by the new management of the Manila North and South
Cemeteries to increase public awareness against littering, improve cleanliness
and introduce operational programs on ecological solid waste management in
their respective domains of supervision,” said Tin Vergara, Zero Waste
Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

The EcoWaste Coalition received reports from its Basura Patrollers who visited
the Caloocan Public Cemetery in Caloocan City; Manila Memorial Park in
Dasmariñas City, Cavite; Manila South Cemetery in Makati City; Garden of Life
Public Cemetery in Mandaluyong City, Manila North Cemetery in Manila City;
Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City; Loyola Memorial Park and Manila Memorial
Park in Parañaque City; Pasay Public Cemetery in Pasay City; Bagbag Public
Cemetery and Holy Cross Memorial Park in Quezon City.

Among the most visible discards abandoned by visitors in the cemetery as
observed by the Basura Patrollers were food leftovers, disposable plates, cups
and cutlery, Styrofoam containers, pizza boxes, plastic bags and bottles,
soiled brown bags and newspapers, candy and snack wrappers, cigarette filters,
and commercial leaflets. There were also reports of open burning as evidenced
by the ash and incompletely burned materials found in some street corners,
vacant lots and near desolated tombs.

For this year’s Undas, the EcoWaste Coalition gave the following awards:

• “Most Improved Award” to the Manila North Cemetery in Manila City and the
Manila South Cemetery in Makati City for the newly energized efforts to enforce
R.A. 9003 as shown by visible signages posted in strategic areas reminding the
public against littering and dumping garbage within cemetery grounds, and for
putting up appropriately-labelled garbage bins around the cemetery premises.

• “Pulot para sa Kalikasan Award” to informal waste recyclers and to the
volunteers of the Tzu Chi Foundation and other groups who retrieved assorted
recyclables, and thus helped in preventing valuable resources from being

• “Pako Award” to the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City for having the
most trees injured by commercial tarpaulin advertisements nailed on defenceless
trees. Among the advertisers were Army Navy, Chowking, Goldilocks, Jollibee,
KFC, Lots’a Pizza, Shakey’s, Yellow Cab and Sogo Hotel.

• “Kalat Award” to various real estate agents for distributing brochures that ended
up scattered in cemetery grounds.