EcoWaste Coalition Lauds and Thanks Waste Pickers, Chides “Alay-Lakad” Litterbugs

An environmental watchdog wasted no time in
applauding the role of the informal waste sector, particularly the waste
pickers, in minimizing the garbage woes from the annual “Alay-Lakad”
penitential walk to Antipolo City.
EcoWaste Coalition complimented the informal sector for retrieving the
corrugated  boxes, newspapers and PET bottles discarded by some of the
devotees who thronged the Antipolo Cathedral in large numbers last Thursday and

“At the shrine of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage and adjacent places, we
found waste pickers in the sea of devotees collecting recyclables left by the
pilgrims,” said Rey Palacio, Informal Waste Sector Project Coordinator,
EcoWaste Coalition.

The collected recyclables were sold to junk shops for P5 per kilo for the
corrugated boxes and newspapers, and P20-25 for plastic beverage and water

The junk shops would later resell the recyclables for use as raw materials by
factories here or abroad.

“The waste pickers, which many still hold in low esteem, prevented valuable
materials from entering the waste stream. By recycling, they averted the
environmental and climate damage associated with garbage disposal, as well as
with the production, transportation and consumption of virgin materials,”
Palacio said. 
“Not to
forget, they have reduced the volume of pilgrim trash at no cost to the church
and city authorities,” he added.

“Indeed the informal waste sector contributes tremendously to resource
conservation, environmental protection and disposal cost reduction.  We
acknowledge and thank them,” he stated.

According to the National Solid Waste Management Commission, “the informal
waste sector  are individuals, families, groups or small enterprises
engaged in the recovery of waste materials with revenue generation as the
motivation either on a full-time or part-time basis.”

The EcoWaste Coalition likewise lauded Antipolo City’s street sweepers for
quickly getting trash off the streets.

Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition lamented the widespread littering that again
spoiled the “Alay-Lakad.”

“We regret that the Pope’s environmental plea fell on deaf ears,” the group

At his recent inaugural Mass at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Pope
Francis urged “all men and women of goodwill (to) be protectors of creation,
protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of
the environment.”

“We hope that his call for environmental protection will strike a chord with
the faithful in word and deed, especially during mammoth religious observances
and festivities,” the group stated.

“Let nothing be wasted anymore as we carry out our faith-inspired endeavors,”
the group emphasized.

Among the most littered items at the “Alay-Lakad,” observed the
EcoWaste Coalition, were candy and snack wrappers, “suman” palm leaf wrapper,
food leftovers, plastic bags, PET bottles, cigarette filters, and the
corrugated boxes, newspapers and other improvised sleeping materials.

Littering, reminded the EcoWaste Coalition, is unlawful.  

It is
prohibited under Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act
of 2000, as well as in the Antipolo City Ordinance 2008-287, the city’s “Basura