Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Trash not the cemeteries

AS millions of Filipino get ready to pay homage to their dearly
departed ones come All Saints’/All Souls’ Days, a waste and pollution
watchdog invited the public to truly honor the dead by keeping the
cemeteries trash-free.

“The beautiful tradition of remembering the dead has become a huge
garbage challenge with the hallowed burial sites instantly turning
into dumpsites by insensitive visitors,” observed Roy Alvarez,
president of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“Let us respect the dead and not desecrate the cemeteries with trash,”
he pleaded.

“The fragile state of the earth’s climate should rouse us into
simplifying our rituals and make do with less candles, flowers, meals
and definitely less plastic disposables,” he added.

“Through a waste-free ‘Undas,’ we also curb the climate impact of our
memorial day for the dead, increase the recovery and recycling of
resources and lessen the amount of trash going into the dumpsites,” he

The drive for an eco-friendly “Undas” has earned the backing of a
Caloocan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. “We join the EcoWaste
Coalition in exhorting the faithful to think about the environment of
the living when remembering our dearly departed,” the Bishop stated.

“Please cut back on garbage, noise and air pollution for a healthier
environment for all,” Bishop Iñiguez, added. The Bishop heads the
Public Affairs Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the

To guide the public in observing an eco-friendly “Undas,” the EcoWaste
Coalition has come up with practical suggestions for cemetery
administrators, entrepreneurs and the general public.

Among those who provided suggestions were Bishop Iñiguez, Jr.,
Franciscan priest Father Pete Montallana, statesman ex-Sen. Aquilino
Pimentel, Jr. and environmental leaders from Buklod Tao, Citizens
Concerned with Advocating Philippine Environmental Sustainability,
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Mother Earth Foundation,
Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society and the EcoWaste Coalition

A. For cemetery administrators, the Ecowaste Coalition suggested the following:

1. Carry out a recycling program, including engaging the service of
waste pickers in adjacent neighborhoods.

2. Put up “recycling stations” (at the minimum two separate bins for
biodegradable and non-biodegradable discards), especially in high
traffic areas (entrances, exits, toilets, vendor areas etc.).

3. Hang banners in strategic spots to announce that the cemetery is a
“waste-free zone” and that everyone is enjoined not to litter, dump or
set discards ablaze.

4. Integrate the ecological management of discards in catering and
vendor rules and regulations.

5. Orient other potential waste generators such as the accredited
volunteer support groups to abide by the cemetery waste policy.

6. Use the public address system to persuade all to support the
cemetery’s effort to cut trash.

B. For ambulant merchants, fastfood stalls and other business shops,
the EcoWaste Coalition proposed the following:

1. Refrain from giving away plastic disposables such as bags, straws,
cups and other single-use plastic items. Hand them out only upon

2. Serve food and beverage in reusable glasses and mugs, plates and cutlery.

3. Show your customers where to put their discards for recycling or disposal.

4. Bring your own trash bags or bins and keep your areas clean at all times.

5. Make a final sweep of your assigned spaces, ensuring that all trash
has been properly removed.

C. For the general public, the Ecowaste Coalition made the following

1. Clean the tombs 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.
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. Avoid wrapping floral or plant
offerings in plastic.

5. Don’t play loud music, tone down noise in the cemetery.

6. Bring your own water jug to avoid purchasing bottled water.

7. Go for waste-free meals. YES to reusable carriers, containers and
utensils such as lunchboxes and thermos, cloth napkins and
silverwares. NO to throw-away bags, wraps, foil or styrofoam, paper
napkins, and forks and spoons.

8. Buy only as much food and beverage as you know you will consume.
Bring “bayong” or other reusable bags to carry your purchases.

9. Take full responsibility for your discards. Put them into the
recycling bins and never litter. Remember to leave the resting places
of your loved ones litter-free.

Buklod Tao, a member group of the EcoWaste Coalition, has kindly
offered to receive used Undas flowers and leaves for shredding in
their facility. Buklod Tao is located at 7 Dama de Noche, Barangay
Banaba, San Mateo, Rizal.


Post a Comment