Environmental group the EcoWaste Coalition has “lamented” widespread littering at popular pilgrimage sites this Easter.
A team from the coalition, calling themselves “The Basura Patrollers” have today (Good Friday, April 19) filed a report about the trash problem at religious sites across the Philippines.
The report said the faithful habitually dumped paper and plastic materials used for picnics, plastic bags, food packaging, food leftovers and lots of plastic water bottles.
The coalition’s National Coordinator Aileen Lucero appealed to devotees to aim for a “garbage-free Holy Week”.
She said: “We regret that our appeal for a garbage-free Holy Week remain unheeded as many devotees, without any sense of guilt or shame, leave their discards anywhere.
“It’s apparent that many devotees have yet to appreciate the connection between the expression of our faith and our responsibility to take good care of our shared environment. Environmental apathy, sad to say, is still very prevalent.”
Visitors at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan, for example, left improvised sleeping materials – including election campaign posters – littering the church and the Stations of the Cross.
Ms Lucero was also dismayed to see bread handed out by good Samaritans being thrown to the ground uneaten.
The coalition has reminded the faithful that religious activities should serve as a “benchmark” for environmental protection, not additional burdens to the country’s waste and pollution problems.
“Let us be reminded by what our bishops have said: ‘We are not owners of the earth. We are its stewards, to keep and cherish and nurture its resources not only for ourselves but for future generations’,” Ms Lucero concluded.
She added that environmental stewardship would be under renewed focus on Earth Day which will be marked on Monday, April 22.
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