LETTER: It’s High Time to Green the Quiapo Fiesta

The photo taken by Edd Gumban (Philippine Star, January 11, 2008) should stimulate serious reflection, dialogue and action on how garbage can be minimized and hopefully eliminated as the popular Feast of the Black Nazarene is observed.

From the picture, one can easily see the piles of garbage left behind by the devotees, vendors and other citizens on January 9, including tons of plastic bags and wrappers, and Styrofoam food and beverage containers. TV news reported that seven truckload of trash were collected the following day in the vicinity of the holy shrine.

A closer look at the photo will show a “green” reminder that was put up by the Parish Youth Ministry of the Quiapo Church. The banner says “malinis na kapaligiran sa kapistahan, alang-alang sa kalusugan at kalikasan,” a simple message that many obviously failed to acknowledge.

While deeply touched by the timeless devotion of Catholic Filipinos to the Black Nazarene, we cannot help but notice how the wellbeing of our fragile environment is easily disregarded by many as they fulfill their fervent vow.

Given the state of our ailing environment, we see the need for all human activities, including our faith-inspired fiestas, to aim for the least use of resources and to reduce wasting to zero or darn close.

The Church can show the way by consciously greening all rites and fiestas, ensuring that all forms of worships and celebrations are not wasteful and polluting to nature.

It is high time for the Catholic bishops and the entire Church to revisit the pastoral letter on ecology issued on January 29, 1988, and provide concrete directions on how the society can act together to rescue Mother Earth from further degradation.

Manny C. Calonzo
Secretary, EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court, 26 Matalino St., QC