168 trucks haul garbage from 23 cemeteries
Change has yet to happen among cemetery goers as an environmental watch group noted the continuing proliferation of the “throw-away culture” during this year’s observance of All Saints’ Day.
For this year’s “Undas,” EcoWaste Coalition monitored 15 private and public cemeteries in Metro Manila, Cavite and Rizal provinces, and found “rampant littering” in the Caloocan Public Cemetery in Caloocan City, Manila North Cemetery in Manila, Manila South Cemetery in Makati City, Loyola Memorial Park in Mari-kina City and the Bagbag Cemetery in Quezon City.
“The culture of throwing discards wherever and whenever it is convenient again spoiled our time-honored tradition of remembering our departed relatives,” said Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator.
“Many people still litter, rain or shine. The repeated reminders from government, church, political and environmental leaders were no match for these hardened litterbugs,” Lucero added.
As of Wednesday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said it had collected 168 truckloads of garbage or around 1,008 tons from 23 cemeteries in Metro Manila.
While the volume was more than half of the 302 truckloads collected in 2015 from 26 cemeteries, the figure was still expected to go up since the cleanup operations would continue until Saturday, said Francis Martinez, head of the MMDA Metro Parkway Clearing Group.
He added that they have also yet to get reports from three more cemeteries in the cities of Muntinlupa, Malabon and Las Piñas.
According to Martinez, of the 23 cemeteries they have cleared, Manila North Cemetery had the biggest amount of trash at 35 truckloads. Next was Manila South Cemetery (28 truckloads) and La Loma Public Cemetery (18 truckloads).
The most common type of garbage left by visitors were leftover food, disposable food and beverage containers, cigarette butts and soiled papers likely used as mats, EcoWaste Coalition said.
Bagbag Cemetery, in particular, was identified by the group as the “most trashed” with mounds of garbage propped up against tombs, sometimes right next to visitors in the crowded cemetery.
“It was the most pitiful sight we have seen during our ‘Undas’ trash monitoring this year,” Lucero said.
The group has e-mailed photos of the trashed cemetery to the Office of Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista with an appeal to officials to enforce a better ecological waste management system next year.
But the group’s monitoring wasn’t all bad: EcoWaste Coalition described as “generally clean” the Malabon and Tugatog Cemeteries in Malabon City; Loyola Memorial Park and Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City; Hagonoy, St. Anne and Tipas Cemeteries in Taguig City; Carmona Public Cemetery and Santuario de Carmona in Carmona, Cavite; and the Angono Municipal Cemetery in Angono, Rizal.
It also commended local authorities, cemetery administrators, the MMDA and civilian volunteers such as those from Tzu Chi Foundation and other civic groups for deploying street cleaners and garbage collectors, and collecting recyclable materials. —WITH A REPORT FROM JOVIC YEE
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