Monday, January 10, 2011

Groups call for 'zero trash, fireworks' in next Nazarene feast

Philippine Red Cross (PRC) secretary general Gwendolyn Pang said the people could have been injured by the fireworks, which were lighted in several areas along the procession route on Sunday.

“Ang init at apoy minsan pag sobrang baba maaring may masugatan (Aside from the heat they generate, fireworks can hurt many devotees if they are misfired)," she said in an interview on dwIZ radio on Monday.

Fireworks were also lighted when the image of the Black Nazarene was finally returned to Quiapo Church, she noted.

According to the police, at least seven million devotees attended this year’s celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Manila on Sunday.

Pang said some 708 people suffered minor injuries in Sunday’s festivities.

No littering

Meanwhile, an environment group also urged devotees to refrain from littering during the future celebrations of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

EcoWaste pleaded for zero littering following the “trashing" of Luneta and Quiapo in Manila in the wake of Sunday's feast.

“We again witnessed a breathtaking manifestation of Filipino people’s spirituality and we salute the devotees for their pious conviction," EcoWaste president Roy Alvarez said on the group's blog site.

"Unhappily, the mass veneration of the Black Nazarene has yet to transform into a more caring bond with the environment as evidenced by the pervasive littering during the feast. Next time, please try not to litter for a more fitting affirmation of our faith," Alvarez said.

Eileen Sison, NGO Representative to the National Solid Waste Management Commission and whose family owns a century-plus-old Santo Entierro (the Dead Christ), conveyed her hope that “our passionate devotion to the Black Nazarene would soon be matched with a shared commitment to work for a clean and safe environment for all."

Virtual dumpsite

The group lamented that the 10-hectare part of Rizal Park facing the Quirino Grandstand became a virtual dumpsite after Saturday's vigil.

It said the problem was worst in Quiapo as many residents, visitors and hawkers threw away unwanted stuff all over the area, including polystyrene food containers.

Along Carlos Palanca St. in Manila, discards were thrown into street gutters that were already holding water due to a buildup of garbage and sludge.

In Plaza Miranda, 12 volunteers from EcoWaste cleared the open space of mixed discards that created some 15 garbage mounds around the area.

Citing Manila city government data, the group said garbage collection in the Quiapo area rises to 36 tons per day during the two-day fiesta period.

Of this, 85 percent are reportedly biodegradable like food leftovers and kitchen scraps.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that next year’s feast would see the Black Nazarene devotees showing the highest concern and care for the environment that all Filipinos can extol and learn from," EcoWaste said.


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