An environmental watchdog commended the perseverance of church, government and civic groups in clearing portions of Rizal Park of trash following the vigil in honor of Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno (Our Father Jesus Nazarene).
The EcoWaste Coalition cited several groups who immediately picked up the trash left by the devotees right after the Holy Mass this morning that was presided over by Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, the newly-installed leader of the Archdiocese of Manila.
“We laud the various groups led by the Church for their noble environmental service,” said Roy Alvarez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We look forward to a more ecological celebration of our faith as more and more Filipinos heed the call for ecological awareness, conversion and action,” he added.
Among those who took part in the cleanup were the church workers and volunteers from the Archdiocese of Manila Ecology Ministry, San Jose de Trozo Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish (also known as the Quiapo Church) and devotees from Malolos, Bulacan.
Also present to extend a helping hand were the student volunteers from the Nazarene Catholic School, Santa Isabel College and Universidad de Manila.
Government workers who joined the cleanup were from the Manila’s Department of Public Services, Metro Manila Development Authority and the National Parks Development Committee.
The EcoWaste Coalition also cited unorganized waste pickers who painstakingly retrieved recyclable discards such as PET bottles to be sold to junk shops.
The most common discards left by the devotees include plastic bags, food wrappers, polystyrene containers for hot drinks and for meals, improvised sleeping mats, and rubber slippers, the EcoWaste Coalition said.
In Plaza Miranda, members of the EcoWaste Coalition patiently held a big banner along Quezon Blvd, next to the Quiapo Church, with a friendly reminder that says “malinis at ligtas na Pista handog natin sa Mahal na Poong Nazareno.”
The group led by Tin Vergara, the group’s Zero Waste campaigner, also gave used sacks to some vendors for them to use as garbage receptacles.
The group is set to join the post-procession cleanup in Plaza Miranda later tonight.