The EcoWaste Coalition, a public interest and advocacy network of more than 150 community, church, school, environmental, and health groups that envisions a Zero Waste society echoes their yearly call for a waste-free Undas.
Volunteers of the EcoWaste Coalition dressed as Zombasuras gathered at the gate of the Manila North Cemetery are reminding the general public of an eco-friendly and waste-free observance of Undas. This is in anticipation of the millions of Filipinos who are expected to flock in cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaria, which results in piles of trash being left in the vicinity during the observance of All Souls and Saints Day on November 1 and 2 respectively.
The environmental group said that as good stewards of our environment, people should show appreciation and care for the environment while respecting the departed souls of our loved ones.
The environmental group further reminds the public not to litter and dump trash in the cemeteries when visiting the graves of their deceased loved ones. Instead, they proposed the following cemetery etiquette or “Cemetiquette” to those who wish their departed loved ones this Undas season:
- Choose lead-free candles that do not yield black fumes or soot.
- Offer fresh flowers, not plastic ones, or bring potted plants and flowers instead.
- Bring your own water jug to avoid purchasing bottled water.
- Go for waste-free meals. Say yes to reusable containers and utensils, such as lunch boxes and thermos, cloth napkins, and silverware.
- For food and beverages, buy and bring only what you can consume to avoid spoilage. Bring “bayong” or other reusable bags to carry your stuff and purchases, and refuse plastic bags and wrappers from vendors.
- Reduce your waste size by not creating trash in the first place, such as by purchasing products with the least amount of packaging and avoiding single-use disposable plastic containers.
- Don’t litter, dump, or burn trash in the cemetery. Do not throw cigarette butts, candy wrappers, discarded packaging, fruit peels, and the like on the ground.
- Put your discards into recycling bins if available.
- Relieve yourself only in the toilet. Keep the urinal or toilet bowl clean as a courtesy to the next user. Do not defecate or urinate in public places.
- Refrain from smoking in the cemetery. Show consideration for the children, the elderly, pregnant women, and others around who have respiratory and heart ailments.
“We continue to remind the general public to honor the dead by not leaving their trash inside the cemeteries. A waste free celebration of Undas is requisite in honoring the final resting place of our deceased loved ones”. Ochie Tolentino, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We appeal to the designated representatives or departments by the Manila City Government, Manila North Cemetery Administration and the Metro Manila Development Authority to closely monitor the implementation of Republic Act 9003 or Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 during Undas, which stipulates that there shall be no littering, open dumping, and burning of garbages since this pollutes our waterways and air” Tolentino added. “Celebrating an eco-friendly and trash-free Undas is important since garbage from the clean-up of tombs adds to the huge amounts of rubbish hauled from gravesites before and especially after Undas”.
Based on the records of the Metro Manila Development Authority, there were 78 truckloads or 196 metric tons of garbage gathered from Manila North and South Cemetery in 2022. Observing the cemetery etiquettes hopefully would lead to less accumulated trash and waste-free cemeteries at the end of the holidays.