Recycling, avoiding crass consumerism and reducing trash are also fitting acts of penance during the Holy Week, a Catholic bishop said Monday.
“The serenity of Holy Week offers a unique opportunity for all to touch base with Mother Earth and face the truth that we live in a very much abused and sullied environment,” said Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, the head of the public affairs committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Iñiguez appealed to the faithful to use the Holy Week “to make amends” with Mother Earth. This can be done “with a conscious effort to live simply, do away with crass consumerism and go for zero waste,” he said.
Iñiguez echoed an earlier call from the environmental group EcoWaste Coalition for “zero waste” as Catholics throughout the country prepared to observe Holy Week.
The campaign, dubbed “Walang Aksaya Holy Days,” aims to reduce trash through responsible consumption and active reusing, recycling and composting during Holy Week.
According to the coalition, the campaign suggests a more determined stance for the use of reusable bags and containers instead of plastic containers; judicious use of water and electricity; and a stop to littering, especially during religious activities.
“Our responsibility to Mother Earth is our responsibility to ourselves and to the next generations that will inherit the planet,” Iñiguez said.
His appeal is also a reiteration of a November 2008 pastoral letter from the Church that exhorted Catholics to “uphold the sanctity of life” and “eliminate wasteful consumption.”
Also on Monday, Romy Hidalgo of the ecology ministry of the diocese of Caloocan said “preventing trash from being created, dumped or burned during Holy Week is a timely act of penance, cleansing and conversion that will translate to cleaner and toxic-free communities, especially in the metropolis.”
But these acts to preserve the environment must be done even beyond Holy Week, Hidalgo said.
“Reducing both the volume and toxicity of trash generated by every person, household, institution and community at any available opportunity is no longer a voluntary option, but an essential responsibility that has to be done at all levels of society,” he said.
Records from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority showed that Metro Manila, with a population of 10 million, generates more than 8,500 tons of trash every day.