The EcoWaste Coalition, a group promoting waste prevention and reduction, made the request in anticipation of the brisk sale of food and beverage with the expected turnout of some eight million devotees in the grand procession commencing from Rizal Park all the way to Quiapo Church.
“To discourage littering, a chronic problem in all public events, we advise all food and beverage vendors to take full responsibility for their discards and not to pass on the garbage burden to eco-aides and volunteers,” said Roy Alvarez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Bringing enough number of used rice, sugar, onion or garlic sacks and putting them next to their stalls will encourage customers not to throw their trash somewhere else,” he added.
“Those selling porridge and other quick meals should have a pail for leftovers that can be fed to animals,” he suggested.
To further reduce the creation of garbage, the group further urged vendors to as much as possible lessen the use of Styrofoam and other single-use plastic containers for foods and drinks.
“It will be a smart and eco-friendly move to invest on reusable and non-toxic mugs, glasses, bowls, plates, spoons and forks, which can be reused over and over again,” Alvarez said.
The EcoWaste Coalition had earlier requested the faithful followers of the Black Nazarene to observe environmental responsibility as they accomplish their personal “panata” (vows).
“May the feast day of the Black Nazarene be marked as well as a day of ecological awareness, responsibility and conversion,” Alvarez said.
In fact, “galangin ang kalikasan” (do respect the environment) is listed in the church-issued “do’s and don’ts” during the feast of the Black Nazarene, along with “huwag magkakalat” (don’t litter) and “huwag gumamit ng firecrackers” (don’t set off firecrackers), the EcoWaste Coalition noted.
To minimize the environmental effects of the huge feast, the EcoWaste Coalition urged everyone to reject all forms of littering.
“If devotees can walk barefoot for kilometers as an act of humility and penance, we’re sure they can without doubt not litter,” Alvarez said.
“All of us, in fact, have to stop this filthy habit of littering which is making our environment, especially Quiapo, an eyesore,’ he emphasized.
“A litter-free fiesta will be pleasing to Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno and also to Mother Earth,” he concluded.
Here are some tips from the EcoWaste Coalition for a cleaner fiesta:
1. Do not throw garbage anywhere; dispose of your trash into the right bins.
2. Return food and beverage discards to vendors, especially bamboo skewers that can cause foot injuries.
3. Refrain from smoking; if you do, don’t toss butts on the ground.
4. Say no to plastic bags; bring a foldable reusable bag for your “pasalubong.”
5. Refrain from spitting and urinating in public places.