Eco watchdog trains guns on ‘zombasura’
Blame it on the “zombasura” in all of us.
The word [a combination of zombie and basura or trash] was coined yesterday by environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition to describe cemetery goers who turn into mindless litterbugs whenever they visit their dearly departed.
In a statement, the group said it was dismayed over the truckloads of garbage collected from cemeteries in Metro Manila the day after All Saints’ Day.
According to Manila Department of Public Services Director Carlos Baltazar, around 200 truckloads of garbage have been collected from the Manila North and South cemeteries since Saturday. At the Chinese cemetery, the trash left by visitors was enough to fill up 50 garbage trucks.
“While the volume of trash may or may not be as bad as in previous years, we still find the littering that again marred the observance of Undas regrettable. Cemeteries are hallowed places where the earthly remains of our deceased loved ones are interred and should be garbage-free,” EcoWaste Coalition president Roy Alvarez said.
“We should lay to rest the ‘zombasura’ within us,” he added.
On Tuesday, the Manila North Cemetery and even roads leading to it were filled with paper and plastic, mostly food containers. Making the situation worse were stalls offering flowers, candles, food, clothes, toys, pets, even life insurance.
Even members of the Buddhist humanitarian organization Tzu Chi Foundation who had volunteered to collect and segregate trash at the cemetery for the first time were overwhelmed by the more than one million visitors and the huge mounds of trash they left.
Volunteer Kalam Chan said they were able to gather a truckload of trash in just two to three hours’ time.
Alvarez urged local governments and cemetery administrators to separate the nonbiodegradable trash from the recyclables before sending these to disposal facilities.
Biodegradable trash can also be composted onsite, he said.
Representatives of the city government, the Metropolitan Manila Development Agency, Philippine Army and Philippine National Police have been busy cleaning up public cemeteries in Manila since yesterday morning.
Baltazar said they expect to keep on doing this even two days after Nov. 1.
Visitors, meanwhile, continued to arrive at the Manila North Cemetery. Yesterday alone, at least 85,000 people came to pay their respects to their dead, cemetery director Edgardo Noriega told reporters.
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