The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog, made this frank observation following a recent visit to the Tondo district, home of the famed Santo Niño de Tondo.
“During our visit, we were stunned to see the outrageous amount of plastic buntings in streets and alleys, which could easily make Tondo the undisputed banderitas capital of the country,” Manny Calonzo, President of the EcoWaste Coalition, said.
“The wild use of disposable buntings such as those made of plastic bags, product advertisements and packaging scraps indicates a sorry lack of awareness regarding the adverse impact of these single-use fiesta accessories to our environment and climate,” he added.
According to the EcoWaste Coalition, the colorful banderitas pose real environmental and climate burdens, particularly in terms of the large volume of fossil fuels needed to manufacture, transport and dispose the plastic materials for such a non-essential adornment.
The banderitas, the EcoWaste Coalition said, add to the tons of post-fiesta discards that are usually disposed through ecologically harmful practices such as dumping and burning, which destroy resources and produce toxic emissions.
The burning of plastic materials, the EcoWaste Coalition pointed out, can result to the creation and discharge of cancer-causing chemicals such as dioxins and furans, the most toxic man-made poisons known to science.
“Given the importance of reducing pollution in order to nurse back to health our deteriorating environment and climate, we find it imperative for the governmental and church authorities to institute proactive measures that will curb wasteful practices, including a ban on disposable plastic buntings,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.
If fiesta organizers are really keen in putting up banderitas, the EcoWaste Coalition suggests the use of environment and climate-friendly alternatives that can be washed, stored and reused such as reusable buntings from fabric scraps.
Another good replacement to plastic buntings are the reusable cloth banners in bamboo poles as can be seen, for instance, in front of the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros and the Our Lady of Remedies Parish in Malate.
“With the growing movement to halt wasteful consumption that is cooking the planet, we hope that climate-negative banderitas will flutter no more in our festivities,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.
The EcoWaste Coalition believed that “the true essence of our time-honored festive celebrations does not rely on the length and color of plastic buntings crisscrossing our streets, but on how we relight our faith and share our community blessings through the fiesta.”
Instead of spending for disposable banderitas and “happy fiesta” banners, the EcoWaste Coalition proposes that the money be redirected to support necessary public information drive towards waste prevention and reduction, which can bring real cheer to residents and visitors and Mother Nature, too.
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