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EcoWaste Coalition Backs Clean Penitential Walk to Antipolo Cathedral

Used face masks
Used face masks collected outside the Antipolo Cathedral during the Alay Lakad 2022

Quezon City. The environmental watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition is requesting everyone who will participate in the penitential walk to Antipolo City this Maundy Thursday to heed the advice of the local church, government, and police authorities and not to leave any trail of litter behind.

In a timely advisory shared via Facebook, the Antipolo Cathedral, Antipolo City Government, and the Antipolo Philippine National Police jointly enjoined all participants in this year’s Alay Lakad to perform the penitential walk in a peaceful, solemn, clean and safe manner.

Last year, an estimated six million people participated in the Alay Lakad that was resumed after a three-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Specifically, they told participants that “our Church is a holy place so let us keep it clean.” Devotees were reminded that “it is strictly forbidden to leave garbage, especially in the prayer area and along the way.”

“We appeal to everyone, especially the youth, to heed the advice by the Antipolo Cathedral and the local government and police authorities to keep this year’s penitential walk clean and for them not to leave any trail of trash like in previous occasions,” said Ochie Tolentino, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“As the first international shrine in the Philippines and Southeast Asia as recently declared by the Holy See, let us show our love and respect to the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage by keeping her home and surroundings litter-free like what we will normally do in our own humble abodes,” she said.

Community members of the EcoWaste Coalition
Community members of the EcoWaste Coalition stage a Way of the Cross last Sunday to encourage the faithful to shun single-use plastics polluting the environment

Fearing a repeat of the rampant littering that has marred popular religious events like the reenactment of the Traslacion of the Black Nazarene last January 9, the EcoWaste Coalition exhorted the faithful to be conscious of their responsibility to Mother Earth as they manifest their faith.

“We pray and hope that all Alay Lakad participants will be extra mindful of the well-being of Mother Earth as they recall the passion of Christ, atone for their sins, and rekindle their faith in Christ the Redeemer,” she said.

“Local authorities will surely deploy hundreds of sweepers to keep the streets leading to Antipolo Cathedral clean. That there will be people assigned to pick up after us is no reason why we should toss trash anywhere, especially for a penitential act driven by our strong belief and trust in the Lord,” she said.

“We also call upon all street vendors and eateries to also pay attention to how they can prevent and reduce garbage as they take advantage of the hordes of tourists. Please minimize the use of plastic disposables and be sure to clean up the area where you sell from,” she added.

To prevent and reduce garbage during the Alay Lakad 2024, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the faithful to observe the following eco-tips:

  1. Bring water in a reusable container to avoid the consumption and disposal of water in plastic bottles.
  2. Have your water bottle refilled in water stations set up by volunteers’ associations and some households.
  3. Avoid food that is served in single-use plastic packaging like disposable plastic foam containers.
  4. Bring a reusable bag for popular “pasalubong” like suman and kasoy to cut use of plastic sando bags.
  5. Never drop or leave any litter behind; keep your discards with you until you have found proper receptacles to place them in.

“We challenge the participants to aim for an eco-friendly Alay Lakad and veer away from Alay Kalat, which is not befitting such a faith-based tradition,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.



EcoWaste Coalition
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