Health, eco groups call for litter-free, smoke-free Holy Week
An environmental group and a health organization have urged the public to observe a “litter-free and smoke-free” Holy Week.
In a joint statement Thursday, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines (FCAP) said preventing litter and smoke during the Lenten season “is good for the health and the environment.”
But the two organizations urged the faithful to practice a smoke- and litter-free environment even beyond the Holy Week.
“We appeal to the faithful to aim for zero litter as they recall the passion of Christ, seek forgiveness for past sins, and renew their faith through various rites during the Holy Week,” said Aileen Lucero, coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Please avoid all forms of littering when you go on pilgrimages to churches and shrines and participate in Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) and Santo Entierro (Holy Interment) processions, and the Easter Sunday pre-dawn Salubong re-enacting the meeting of the Risen Christ with Virgin Mary,” Lucero added.
The group hoped that the penitential walk to Antipolo City this Maundy Thursday would not leave “a carpet of trash,” which has been a yearly problem.
“We urge the faithful to turn away from cigarette smoking for their health and well-being,” said Dr. Maria Encarnita Limpin, FCAP Executive Director.
“Please don’t pollute the Holy Week activities, including the Alay Lakad, Pabasa, and the processions, with hazardous smoke that can put your health and the health of those around you at risk,” Limpin added.
Limpin, who is a regent at the Philippine College of Physicians, also urged people who are into e-cigarettes not to smoke in public as second hand emissions are also dangerous.
“Some studies have detected carcinogenic substances like benzene, formaldehyde, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines from such emissions,” she said.
EcoWaste Coalition and FCAP also called on national and local government agencies to fully enforce prohibitions against littering and smoking under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act. JE
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