‘Cemetiquette’: Do’s, don’t’s on Nov. 1 and 2
MANILA, Philippines–People trooping to cemeteries this weekend to mark All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day should study their “Cemetiquette” so they would not litter the graveyards with their garbage.
This was the message from members of the environmental advocate EcoWaste Coalition, who trooped to North Cemetery in Manila on Tuesday to inform the public of the “10 commandments” of Cemetiquette, or cemetery etiquette.
Observing the etiquette hopefully would lead to waste-free cemeteries at the end of the holidays.
“Cemetiquette aims to promote environmental responsibility and commonsensical good manners in the cemeteries while drawing attention to bad practices that show disrespect for the dead [and] for the living,” said Christina Vergara, the group’s Zero Waste Program Officer.
To drive their message home to cemetery goers, members of the group wore pig masks while dancing the zumba by the front gates of Manila’s North Cemetery.
Vergara said the masks would remind people not to leave their trash behind.
Mascot named ‘Zombasura’
The group has a mascot, called “Zombasura,” their personification of the trash that has to be cleaned up after the holidays on Nov. 1 and 2.
“As part of our yearly campaign for waste- and pollution-free celebrations, we took on the Zumba craze to remind our fellow cemetery goers to keep in mind the ‘Cemetiquette’ and do away with ‘Zombasura’ habits as a way of showing deep and genuine respect for our departed kindred and friends,” Vergara said.
“We ask the public to please don’t turn the cemetery into a pigsty.”
After the zumba session, members spread out in the cemetery posting placards containing the Cemetiquette rules.
The 10 rules are:
- Choose lead-free candles that do not yield black fumes or soot. Limit the number of candles to reduce heat and pollution. Be cautious so as not to let candle fire touch plastic receptacles or holders.
- Offer fresh flowers, not plastic ones, or consider bringing potted plants and flowers instead. Avoid wrapping floral or plant offerings in plastic, which will sooner or later end up as trash.
- Bring your own water jug to avoid purchasing bottled water. Discarded plastic bottles add to the country’s garbage problem. Plastic bottles, which are petrochemical products, also require lots of oil and chemicals to manufacture.
- Go for waste-free meals. Say yes to reusable containers and utensils, such as lunch boxes and thermos, cloth napkins and silverwares. Say no to throw-away bags, wraps, foils, styrofoam packaging, paper napkins, and forks and spoons.
Also, refrain from patronizing junk food and go for simple yet nutritious home-prepared meals.
- For food and beverage, buy and bring only what you can consume to avoid spoilage. Bring “bayong” or other reusable bags to carry your stuff and purchases, and refuse plastic bags and wrappers from vendors.
- Reduce your waste size by not creating trash in the first place, such as by purchasing products with the least amount of packaging and avoiding single-use disposable plastic containers.
- Don’t litter, dump or burn trash in the cemetery. Do not throw cigarette butts, candy wrappers, discarded packaging, fruit peels and the like on the ground.
Remember to leave the resting place of your loved ones litter-free.
Keep urinals clean
- Put your discards into recycling bins if available. Better still, bring your own discard bags and take these home for sorting, reusing, recycling or composting.
- Relieve yourself only in the toilet. Keep the urinal or toilet bowl clean as a courtesy to the next user. Do not defecate or urinate in public places.
10. Refrain from smoking in the cemetery. Show consideration for the children, the elderly, pregnant women and others around who have respiratory and heart ailments.
Miss Earth beauties
Miss Earth Philippines 2014 Jamie Herrell and other Miss Earth Philippines winners joined Tuesday’s assembly at North Cemetery.
Herrell said trash had no place in the cemeteries.
“Garbage and anything that can make our surroundings ugly should have no place in the undas celebration. We join the EcoWaste Coalition in imploring the public to keep cemeteries clean and safe as we remember our departed dear ones,” she said.
Ecowaste Coalition’s campaign was supported by the city government, Manila North Cemetery administration, and Tzu Chi Foundation, which have made it their mission to clean up trash from cemeteries.
After the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day celebrations last year, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said it collected over 100 truckloads of garbage in 23 cemeteries around Metro Manila. Most of the garbage was collected from the Manila’s North Cemetery.
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