Lenten pilgrims leave behind heaps of garbage in Antipolo, Bulacan
An environmental group on Friday decried the mounds of trash left behind by devotees who observed the Holy Week tradition in Bulacan and Antipolo churches.
The group Ecowaste Coalition said the garbage left behind by the devotees at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in San Jose del Monte City and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo City on Good Friday morning was “unbefitting” of the religious’ spiritual journey to affirm their faith.
“Just like in previous years, the Lenten pilgrimage to both religious sites left a trail of trash that is totally unbefitting of the spiritual journey that many devotees do to affirm their faith, ask forgiveness for past wrongs and give thanks for blessings received,” Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition, said in a statement.
The group said that at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, Lenten campers left heaps of garbage on the lawns and sidewalks turning the serene site into a “virtual dump site.”
Mounds of trash were also seen at the patio of the Antipolo Cathedral, home of the venerated image of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, Ecowaste coalition said.
It noted, however, that at the nearby Sumulong Park, M. L. Quezon Street and adjacent streets, they were found to be generally “clean” because of the around-the-clock cleaning operations by waste and sanitation workers of the Antipolo City government.
The group pointed out the discarded newspapers, corrugated carton boxes and other materials used by pilgrims for resting, picnicking and sleeping.
The group also expressed concern over the discarded snack packs, plastic bags, bottles and cups, food containers and leftovers, and cigarette stabs that were “carelessly scattered” on the grounds, sidewalks, street corners and gutters.
“Some of the discarded stuff is in fact reusable and recyclable. Luckily, enterprising waste pickers, especially in Antipolo City, were on hand to retrieve these valuable materials and sell them to junk shops,” Alejandre said.
“We surely are not happy with what we saw, but hope springs eternal in the human heart. We therefore reiterate our appeal to the faithful to care for Mother Earth, sustainer of all life, as they fulfill their religious vows. Faith-inspired endeavors should set a higher benchmark for environmental stewardship,” he added. /jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.