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Environment

EcoWaste Coalition Welcomes Less Trashy Observance of Undas in Most Cemeteries

Waste segregation bins
Waste segregation bins at the entrance of Barangka Municipal Cemetery, Marikina City

2 November 2022, Quezon City. The EcoWaste Coalition, an advocacy group for a zero waste and toxics-free society, has noted the reduced littering in most of the 23 cemeteries monitored by the group’s Basura Patrollers.

As part of its B.T.S. campaign (B.T.S. stands for Bawal magTapon sa Sementeryo), the group yesterday deployed Basura Patrollers to monitor compliance to Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, and related local ordinances prohibiting littering and other environmental offenses like open burning and dumping.

“Unlike pre-COVID Undas, it seems that many of the people who visited the tombs of their loved ones chose not to litter or leave a lot of rubbish this time around. Cemeteries, especially the smaller ones, were generally litter-free at the time of monitoring,” Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. “Preventing and reducing garbage and pollution during Undas and other festivities in light of the waste, plastic and climate crisis is not only necessary, but doable.”

The group attributed the less trashy situation in many of the cemeteries to a number of factors, including the deployment of adequate numbers of environmental personnel, the ban on overnight stay and “no vendor policy” inside the cemeteries, and the lower turnout of visitors in some cemeteries due to the weather conditions.

However, the group found bins overflowing with mixed trash, particularly at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City, as well as garbage piles dotting the inner streets of both the Manila North and South Cemeteries.

Garbage
(Left Photo) Garden of Life Memorial Park in Mandaluyong City – The signage says it all (Right Photo) Overflowing garbage bin at Manila Memoria Park, Paranaque

Among the typical items seen in garbage bins and piles were plastic bags and bottles, plastic wrappers for flower bouquet, donut and pizza boxes, brown bags, fast food packaging materials, food leftovers, and cigarette filters, which put the spotlight on sustainable consumption and segregation at source to facilitate waste avoidance, composting and recycling as embodied in R.A. 9003.

“We observe that some private cemeteries have positioned black plastic bags for mixed garbage disposal in many areas, which are then replaced as soon as these bags are filled. We hope the mixed discards are sorted somewhere to remove the organics and recyclables, and not simply hauled and dumped straight to landfills,” said Benosa, adding that “mixed disposal wastes resources and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.”

Garbage Bins
Street sweepers at Tipas Catholic Cemetery in Taguig City get ready for the cleanup

The group recognized the indispensable role of personnel tasked to maintain cleanliness inside the cemeteries, including the street cleaners or sweepers assigned by local government units, and the utility crew of private memorial parks. “Armed with broomsticks and tongs, they patiently pick up the litter around the clock,” said Benosa.

Described by group’s Basura Patrollers as “generally litter-free” during the time of monitoring were the various Catholic cemeteries in Caloocan, Mandaluyong, Pasay, Pasig, and Taguig, particularly the La Loma Catholic Cemetery, San Felipe Neri Catholic Cemetery, Pasay Catholic Cemetery, Pasig Catholic Cemetery, Saint Martha Catholic Cemetery, and the Tipas Catholic Cemetery.

Also found to be “generally litter-free’ were the Barangka Municipal Cemetery and Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City, Garden of Life Memorial Park in Mandaluyong City, Navotas Cemetery, Santolan Cemetery in Pasig City, Garden of Memories Memorial Park in Pateros, Himlayang Palanyag and Loyola Memorial Park in Parañaque City, Saint John Memorial Park San Juan City Cemetery, and Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Montalban, Rizal.

Flooded areas in Navotas City Cemetery
Waste and sanitation workers do their job even at flooded areas in Navotas City Cemetery

Among the 23 burial sites covered by the group’s trash monitoring were La Loma Catholic Cemetery and Sangandaan Cemetery in Caloocan City; Manila South Cemetery in Makati City; Tugatog Public Cemetery in Malabon City; Garden of Life Memorial Park and San Felipe Neri Catholic Cemetery in Mandaluyong City; Manila North Cemetery in Manila City; Barangka Municipal Cemetery and Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City; Navotas Public Cemetery in Navotas City; Pasay Catholic Cemetery and Pasay City Cemetery in Pasay City; Pasig Catholic Cemetery, Saint Martha Catholic Cemetery and Santolan Cemetery in Pasig City; Garden of Memories Memorial Park in Pateros; Himlayang Palanyag, Loyola Memorial Park, Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City; Bagbag Public Cemetery in Quezon City; Saint John Memorial Park San Juan City Cemetery in San Juan City; Tipas Catholic Cemetery in Taguig City; and Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Montalban, Rizal.

EcoWaste Coalition
Let's make an eco-friendly, zero waste, and toxic-free Philippines a reality.
https://www.ecowastecoalition.org/