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Church and Environmental Groups Exhort Black Nazarene Devotees to Go Zero Waste

Zero waste fiesta for the Black Nazarene

7 January 2023, Quezon City. Coinciding with the observance of January as Zero Waste Month, church and environmental organizations exhorted the faithful devotees of the Black Nazarene to mark the upcoming feast without leaving a trail of garbage.

In a statement released ahead of the massively popular religious celebration, Caritas Philippines and the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to the multitude of devotees to join hands in preventing and reducing the generation of trash, particularly at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park and the vicinity of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo.

“Caring for our fellow human beings and the environment is an integral part of our people’s deeply-rooted devotion to the Black Nazarene,” said Father Tony Labiao, Executive Secretary of Caritas Philippines, the humanitarian, development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and a member of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“We therefore enjoin all the faithful, especially those planning to partake in the activities, to be mindful of our shared responsibility to keep the surroundings garbage-free in honor of the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno and Mother Earth,” he pleaded.

Zero waste fiesta for the Black Nazarene
WASTE-FREE DEVOTION. Ahead of the upcoming feast of the Black Nazarene, a clean-up brigade from the EcoWaste Coalition gather in front of Quiapo Church to exhort the public not to drop litter anywhere at all times for a garbage-free religious celebration.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an organization advocating for a zero waste and toxics-free society, likewise urged the devotees to observe the “Pagpupugay” (paying respects), “Lakad Pananampalataya” (walk of faith) and other fiesta activities minus the usual trail of litter.

“We appeal to the devotees who will troop to the Quirino Grandstand to view and touch the venerated image of the Black Nazarene, join the walk of faith from there to Quiapo Church, attend mass and participate in the Eucharist to leave nothing but footprints,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

Lucero noted that past celebrations of the Black Nazarene feast, particularly those held before the COVID-19 pandemic, were marred by the indiscriminate disposal on streets and sidewalks of food wastes, disposable food containers, bamboo skewers, single-use plastic bags, cups, bottles and straws, and cigarette butts.

Zero waste fiesta for the Black Nazarene

For example, Manila’s Department of Public Services collected 68 truckloads or 330 tons of mixed garbage during the last “Traslacion” in 2020, which remains suspended this year due to the continuing threat of COVID-19 virus (“Traslacion” is the mammoth procession re-enacting the transfer of the Black Nazarene from Luneta to Quiapo).

To emphasize their plea for a garbage-free feast of the Black Nazarene, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Tondo-based Samahan ng mga Mangangalakal ng Capulong today staged a clean-up activity around Quiapo Church with a banner that says “basura ay iwasan at bawasan” as backdrop.

As January is observed as “Zero Waste Month” as per Presidential Proclamation 760, the EcoWaste Coalition also called for improved implementation of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, at all levels and in all human activities, including cultural and religious activities, in line with the state policy to “ensure the protection of public health and the environment.”

Zero waste fiesta for the Black Nazarene
Eco-volunteers with Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna.
EcoWaste Coalition
Let's make an eco-friendly, zero waste, and toxic-free Philippines a reality.
https://www.ecowastecoalition.org/