Black Nazarene devotees urged to take waste prevention ‘seriously’
MANILA, Philippines — Ahead of the annual “Traslacion” procession, the environmental group EcoWaste Coalition on Thursday appealed to the millions of Black Nazarene devotees to take waste prevention “seriously.”
In a statement, the group urged the devotees “to take waste prevention to heart as they fulfill their religious vows.”
“Let it not be said that the age-old Traslacion has again turned into a ‘trash-lacion’ sullying every nook and corner of the processional route with garbage,” Daniel Alejandre, zero waste campaigner, said.
Apart from the devotees, the group also appealed to the Parish of Saint John the Baptist (Quiapo Church), the Archdiocese of Manila, Manila City Government, Metro Manila Development Authority, and all concerned barangays and civil society groups to work together for a “trash-free” Traslacion.
“The objective should not simply focus on how quick the garbage is swept, collected and hauled, but on how the generation of garbage can be prevented and reduced to the minimum,” Alejandre said.
Ecowaste Coalition cited data from the Manila City Government which showed that 385 tons of mixed garbage were collected by government personnel and volunteers from Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park to the Quiapo district during the traditional “Pahalik” and procession in 2018.
The said figure was 11-percent higher than the 341 tons of garbage collected during the Traslacion in 2017, the group added.
The group noted that the feast of the Black Nazarene was “besmirched” by tons of mixed garbage abandoned on the streets and sidewalks of Manila especially at Rizal Park and the roads and barangays where the procession passed through.
It added that the waste materials typically collected were food wastes, polystyrene food containers, plastic cups and cutlery, plastic and paper bags, plastic straws, bamboo skewers, and cigarette filters, which Ecowaste said often end up in the dumps.
The group also reiterated its appeal to politicians, political parties and party-list groups not to put up tarpaulin banners along the processional route, and distribute campaign leaflets to the crowd.
“As this year is an election year, we appeal to all politicos not to use the Traslacion to popularize their names and to add more garbage to the occasion,” Alejandre said.
“We also encourage well-meaning individuals and groups to offer devotees food and water in reusable containers and not in single-use plastic or paper containers, which are hardly retrieved and recycled,” he added.
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