QUEZON CITY-- As the Holy Week is observed, an environmental group exhorted the faithful to give Mother Earth a well-deserved break from garbage and pollution.
The EcoWaste Coalition, an advocate for zero waste, issued its plea for a low carbon Holy Week on the the beginning of the week leading to Easter.
The Holy Week provides a good occasion for Filipinos, especially the devout Catholics, to observe low-emission, climate-friendly and trash-free practices for the sake of our Mother Earth, said Ochie Tolentino, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
We can use the holy days to perform acts that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions, while conserving our diminishing natural resources, she said.
The group echoed the words of Archbishop Socrates Villegas who recently exhorted Filipinos to act together to protect the planet from the impacts of climate change.
The right to a healthful ecology that the Constitution guarantees us all will soon become hollow words when our wells run dry, our fields become arid as wastelands, our air, heavy with lethal pollutants, warned Villegas who is also the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.
We are one with the church in calling for ecological conversion amidst the changing and warming climate, and many, we hope, will find the Holy Week an opportune time to make environmental amends, Tolentino said.
Towards a low carbon, zero waste Holy Week, the EcoWaste Coalition reiterated the following eco-friendly reminders:
1. Abstain from, or permanently give up, acts that tend to degrade and dirty the environment such as plastic bag use, littering, waste burning, etc.
2. Walk, bike or take the public transportation to the churches for the Visita Iglesia (church visits).
3. Use recycled materials for makeshift huts for the reading, chanting or singing of the Passion of Christ (Pabasa). If painting is desired, use lead-safe decorative paints.
4. Serve food for the penitential Caridad (food sharing) in reusable containers that can be washed and reused all over again.
5. Take part in making the penitential Alay-Lakad to Antipolo City on Maundy Thursday litter-free.
6. Pick up the trash along the route as part of the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) rites in the neighborhood.
7. Adorn floats for the Santo Entierro (Holy Interment) on Good Friday with longer-lasting mercury-free LED lamps and with locally-sourced flowers and plants.
8. Celebrate the Salubong at dawn on Easter Sunday without lighting firecrackers and fireworks.
9. Ensure that Easter fun games and activities are simple and not wasteful.
10. Gather old and used items in good condition and donate to Segunda Mana, the special donations-in-kind program of Caritas Manila.
11. Quiet down and opt for staycation at home for a meaningful bonding time with family members.
12. For those going for out-of-town vacation, please take the following eco-mantra to heart: take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.
"Please do not throw or abandon your discards on the road, park, beach and churchyard. If there are no bins available, kindly bring your discards home for composting, recycling or proper disposal," the group emphasized.
Also, the group appealed to politicians to do away with Happy Easter tarpaulin greetings, which only add to the street clutter and to the garbage to be collected and disposed of.
Source: Philippines Information Agency