Eco Cleanup of Post-Undas Waste Urged

A pollution watchdog has called for an ecological cleanup of discards left by millions of cemetery visitors who put up with the human and traffic congestion to pay respects to their dearly departed.

The EcoWaste Coalition directed their post-Undas environmental plea to local authorities in charge of public cemeteries, as well as to managers of memorial parks run by religious and business entities.

“The deluge of people who visited the tombs of their relatives and friends saw cemeteries and adjoining streets being littered with cigarette butts, food wrappers and containers, plastic bags and other discards,” said Roy Alvarez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“While the volume of trash may or may not be as bad as in previous years, we still find the littering that again marred the observance of Undas regrettable,” he emphasized.

“Cemeteries are hallowed places where the earthly remains of our deceased loved ones are interred and should be garbage-free,” he insisted.

“We should lay to rest the ‘Zombasura’ within us,” he added.

“Zombasura” (a fusion of “zombie” and “basura” or trash) was coined by the EcoWaste Coalition to draw public attention to the filthy habit of cemetery litterbugs.

To avoid further pollution, the EcoWaste Coalition advised cemetery officials and overseers to ensure that only non-reusable, non-recyclable and non-compostable discards are sent to residual disposal facilities.

Instead of just loading them into garbage trucks, efforts should be exerted to retrieve reusable and recyclable materials from garbage heaps and bins such as papers, boxes, beverage cans and plastic bottles, the group suggested.

Biodegradable materials like food leftovers, plant trimmings, discarded flowers and the like should be composted on site if practicable, the group added.

Open burning should never be done as this is illegal and very polluting, the group stressed.

According to the EcoWaste Coalition, the ecological management of discards will surely help in trimming down the volume of mixed waste sent to dumpsites and landfills, while providing health, environmental, climate and livelihood benefits to the society.

Data from the National Solid Waste Management Commission indicate that the country produces some 36,000 tons of garbage daily, out of which 7,000 tons are generated in Metro Manila.