Photo courtesy of Rey Palacio
October 28, 2011. Manila City – As the commemoration of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day draw near, the pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition encourages all Filipinos to practice Zero Waste and keep cemeteries waste-free and toxic-free. The coalition, joined by Miss Earth Foundation, Diocese of Caloocan-Ecology Ministry, representatives from the city government of Manila City, Manila North Cemetery Administration, and civil society groups held a public event at the Manila North Cemetery to call on the public to bury wasteful habits. The groups also symbolizes wasteful practices through “Zombasura” (a word jumble of “zombie” and “basura” or trash), a toxic monster who throw away garbage anywhere and litter the graveyard. Together with toxic ghouls, Zombasura paraded in the cemetery to demonstrate the bad impacts of burning and dumping of garbage to the environment and public health. “Our cemeteries are sacred place and not graveyards for our unwanted trash. Let us commemorate the occasion with simplicity, spirituality and utter respect for both the dead and the living. Let us all do our share for our planet. Do not be a Zombasura!,” said Roy Alvarez, President of EcoWaste Coalition. According to Alvarez, by cutting the volume of our waste and practicing segregation and composting, we also address the worsening conditions of our climate and halt the proliferation of dirty technologies such as landfills and incinerators. “As we visit and commemorate our deceased loves ones, we need to express also our love and responsibility for the environment. Do not throw or burn your trash and avoid using plastic bags and disposable products and packaging. Let us keep our cemeteries clean and waste-free. These small steps will be a great gift to our Mother Earth!” said Miss Earth-Philippines Athena Mae Imperial. To remind the public, EcoWaste Coalition recommends these simple-tips for a waste-free, climate-friendly and toxic-free Undas:1. For local government and cemetery administrators, hang cloth banners to remind the public that the cemetery is a waste-free zone. Implement ecological solid waste management and encourage vendors to support waste prevention. Place segregated bins (biodegradable and non-biodegradable at a minimum) in strategic locations. 2. On Undas, remind the people to properly manage their discards through regular public announcements. Unwanted discards should be sorted in segregated bins or if bins are not available, discards should be brought home for reusing, recycling or composting. In addition, nearby recycling communities can be invited to monitor cleanliness of the cemetery while the collected recyclable discards can be donated to them.
3. Walk, bike, carpool or take the public transportation to the cemeteries.
4. Make use only of non-toxic soaps or detergents to clean the tombs and unleaded paints for those who plan to re-paint them. Avoid burning of grass and plant cuttings and garbage piles.
5. Reuse left-over candles at home. If buying new candles, select plain and clean-burning candles to minimize smoke and pollution.
6. Choose locally grown fresh flowers and abstain from wrapping them in plastic to avoid additional litter.
7. Avoid use of plastic bags, polystyrene packaging, disposable plates and utensils and etc. to reduce your garbage.
8. Just bring enough, not easily perishable food items to avoid spoilage and poisoning.
9. Bring water jug and reusable cups and glass to reduce plastic bottle consumption.
10. Keep your noise and voices down as a respect to others. The event also drew the support from Manila City Health Office, Manila Department of Public Services, Manila North Cemetery Administration, Office of Manila City Councilor Niňo Dela Cruz, and environmental groups such as Ban Toxics and Malikhaing Landas na Magpapayabong sa Sining at Kultura.