Groups campaign for waste reduction in cemeteries, urge the public not to become “Zombasura”

Concerned groups have combined their voices to encourage the public not to sully the cemeteries with trash.

In a joint action today, the EcoWaste Coalition, Miss Earth Foundation and the management of the Manila North Cemetery urged citizens not to turn into “Zombasura” this coming “Todos los Santos” or “Undas.”

The event also drew the support of Buklod Tao, Diocese of Kalookan Ecology Ministry, EARTH-UST, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Manila City Health Office and the Manila Department of Public Services.

A “Zombasura” (a word jumble of “zombie” and “basura” or trash), the groups explained, is a creature who does not care for her or his surroundings and tend to litter the graveyard with rubbish.

“Our age-old custom of remembering our deceased loved ones is messed up by the many ‘Zombasura’ in our midst,” said Roy Alvarez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We hope that our celebration this time around will be marked with simplicity, spirituality and utter respect for both the dead and the living,” he said.

On November 1 last year, some nine truckloads of garbage were generated by the mammoth crowds who visited the Manila North Cemetery as told by the Manila North Cemetery Administration to the EcoWaste Coalition.

Common “Undas” trash includes various types of single-use plastic bags, polyethylene plastic bottles, polystyrene plastic food and beverage containers, plastic wrappers, carton boxes, soiled papers, cigarette butts, food leftovers, grass cuttings and other organics.

In 2008, some 180 trucks of garbage, weighing 1,145 tons, were collected from November 1 to 5 in the Manila North, Manila South and Chinese Cemeteries, according to the Manila City Hall.

“We look forward to reduced garbage generation this year. With the cooperation of the visitors, vendors and other caring citizens, we can surely make our cemeteries cleaner places to visit for safer family reunions,” said Mr. Edgardo Noriega, Administrator of the Manila North Cemetery.

For her part, former beauty queen Cathy Untalan, Executive Director of Miss Earth Foundation, emphasized that “our year-round campaigns underscore the importance of adopting a zero waste lifestyle in everything that we do and not just in certain times.”

“The observance of All Saints Day and All Souls Day should be no different. Last year, we experienced Ondoy and hopefully it taught us important lessons of the urgency to take care of our environment. If not, nature will always find ways to haunt us until we change our ways,” she stated.

Also present to support waste reduction efforts in cemeteries were Rene McHugh, Miss Philippines Air 2010; Emmerie Dale Cunanan, Miss Philippines Water 2010; and Angela Fernando, Miss Philippines EcoTourism 2010.

Here are some of the practical tips to guide the public in reducing trash this coming Undas:

1. Clean the tombs of your departed ones without causing pollution — for example, from the burning of grass and plant cuttings and garbage piles.

2. Walk, bike, carpool or take the public transportation to the cemeteries.

3. Select clean-burning candles that do not yield black fumes or ash. Lit a reasonable number only to minimize heat and pollution. Do not let candles’ plastic receptacles or holders to burn.

4. Offer local fresh flowers, not plastic ones, or consider bringing potted plants and flowers instead. Simple, inexpensive flowers will do. Avoid wrapping floral or plant offerings in plastic, which will sooner or later end up as trash.

5. Don’t play loud music, tone down noise in the cemetery, and help make the place conducive to prayers and to family bonding, too.

6. Bring your own water jug to avoid purchasing bottled water. Please watch The Story of Bottled Water to find out why: http://storyofstuff.org/bottledwater/

7. Go for waste-free meals. Say yes to reusable carriers, containers, and utensils such as lunchboxes and thermos, cloth napkins and silverwares. Say no to throw-away bags, wraps, foil or Styrofoam, paper napkins, and forks and spoons. Also, refrain from patronizing junk food and go for simple yet nutritious home-prepared baon.

8. Buy less or only as much as you know you will consume in terms of food and beverage. Bring bayong or other reusable bags to carry your stuff and purchases, and refuse plastic bags and wrappers from vendors.

9. Cut your waste size by not creating trash in the first place such as by purchasing products with the least amount of packaging and avoiding single-use plastic disposables.

10. Take full responsibility for your discards. Put them into the recycling bins and never litter. Better still, bring your own discards bags and bring them home for sorting, reusing, recycling or
composting. Remember to leave the resting places of your loved ones litter-free.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 329, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 441-1846

1 Comment

  • good day sir/ma'am,
    niugan mountaineers would like to join your campaign, can we ask how to participate also in your other activities?