Being mindful of ‘discards’
Is it possible to surprise ourselves with a plastics-free observance of All Saint’s Day tomorrow and All Soul’s Day (Undas) on Saturday?
It is heart-breaking to see cemeteries transformed into a “wasteland.”
Still vivid in my mind are voluminous trash at the entrance of cemeteries, no thanks to mindless citizens who don’t care where their discards go and authorities who do not prioritize the enforcement of our laws.
The throw-away mentality has to stop. We are hurting our children and grandchildren who stand to suffer the most from the impacts of our neglect, callousness and indifference.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Vice President and Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David and the EcoWaste Coalition urged Catholic Filipinos to break away from the “traditional” littering at cemeteries.
“The time-honored practice of remembering our deceased loved ones and the Saints has turned into a de facto feast of litterbugs as cemetery guests leave tons of trash on what is supposed to be a sacred ground,” said Bishop David. He implored us to “break away from littering and other disrespectful acts and celebrate Undas as a prayerful instead of a wasteful occasion. Cemeteries are a hallowed ground, not a dumping ground for leftovers and disposables.”
Jove Benosa of EcoWaste Coalition advises the public that “The most effective way of preventing garbage overload is by avoiding the generation of trash in the first place. This will require the conscious decision by families and individuals to consume responsibly, avoid single-use plastics and other disposables and not leave piles of rubbish in the cemeteries.”
They share practical steps to reduce waste and pollution in cemeteries and their environs, among which are:
- Don’t litter, dump or burn trash in the cemetery.
- Offer local fresh flowers, not plastic ones, and refrain from wrapping them in plastic.
- Pack meals and drinks in reusable containers.
- Avoid single-use plastics and go for reusable bags, food and beverage containers, and cutlery.
- Bring all discards home, including leftovers, and do not leave any trash behind.
Academic institutions are leading the way in creating plastics-free environment for our young citizens. By instilling the values of stewardship, responsibility and discipline among them, they are laying a solid foundation for engaged and vigilant citizenry – a priceless legacy.
St. Theresa’s College’s Zero-Waste Program has seen the drastic reduction of plastics from 30 bags to 2 bags and now, the possibility of being deputized by the Cebu City government to enforce the Solid Waste Management ordinance is becoming (or is it now?) a reality.
This columnist is privileged to be with and learn from outstanding young leaders the past three weeks. Foremost in their minds is creating a Zero-Waste lifestyle. They dream of a plastics-free world.
They care – absolutely.
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