26 December 2019, Manila City/Quezon City. The EcoWaste Coalition has bewailed the truckloads of garbage left behind by thousands of merrymakers who trooped to the iconic Rizal Park on Christmas Eve.
The group, an active advocate for a zero waste and toxics-free society, scored the persistent littering by park visitors as an utterly inconsiderate and irresponsible act that should not be repeated on New Year’s Eve, as well as during the overnight vigil preceding the Traslacion of the Black Nazarene on January 9.
“While we thank the park maintenance workers for diligently sweeping up after the visitors, we despise the brazen littering by some uncaring people because this is not an OK thing to do,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
Among the items left by uncaring visitors were plastic bags, bottles, cups and cutlery, paper and Styrofoam food containers, and picnic leftovers.
“Litter is not only unsightly, but also unhygienic and polluting. Litter attracts flies and rats and causes the spread of diseases while creating rotting smell from food waste. Litter, especially single-use plastic bags, can be blown or washed into waterways and the oceans, harming aquatic life,” he said.
“Also, littering, as we all know, is an environmental offense under Republic Act 9003, a national law, as well as in Manila City Ordinance 7866,” he added.
RA 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, bans littering and violators can be fined from P300 to P1,000, asked to render one to 15-day community service or be required to pay the fine as well as perform community service.
On the other hand, Manila City Ordinance 7866 prohibits and penalizes illegal disposal of garbage with a fine of P3,000 and/or imprisonment of 30 days or both upon the order of the court.
The EcoWaste Coalition expressed its hope that Filipinos who will go to Rizal Park to celebrate the fast approaching New Year, or participate in the overnight vigil for the Black Nazarene, will be more considerate and responsible and refrain from sullying the park with trash.
“Let’s all cooperate in protecting Rizal Park and other green spaces from turning into virtual dumps by sticking with the eco-mantra ‘take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but memories, kill nothing but time’ and by just simply being respectful to fellow visitors and to Mother Earth,” Benosa said.
(Photo by Manila PIO / MANILA BULLETIN)