The Ecowaste Coalition on Wednesday appealed for a trash-free observance of the “Traslacion” of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila on Saturday.
The group came up with the appeal following the issuance of the encyclical letter “Laudato Si” by Pope Francis wherein he deplored the unrestrained pollution of Mother Earth and challenged everyone “to protect our common home.”
“Let not the creeping throw away culture that Pope Francis has repeatedly denounced disgrace anew our age-old devotion to the Black Nazarene,” said Ecowaste coordinator Aileen Lucero.
“We expect the faithful to heed the papal call for ‘ecological conversion’ and display such changeover by making this year’s ‘Traslacion’ trash-free. Let it not be said that the faithful came in hordes to glorify the Black Nazarene but turned Luneta and Quiapo, to borrow a phrase from the Laudato Si, into an ‘immense pile of filth’,” she emphasized.
The group noted that the garbage generated from the commemorative event that draws millions of Black Nazarene devotees has been increasing through the years.
Citing government data, 336 tons of garbage in 2014 and 413 tons in 2015 were collected along the processional trail from Rizal Park to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, popularly known as the Quiapo Church.
The Metro Manila Development Authority expects truckloads of trash to be collected after the celebration.
Most of the waste materials collected are plastic bottles, “ice tubig” (water inside the plastic), candy, disposable plates, biscuit, and wafer wrappers, crumpled plastic bag and some spoiled food.
MMDA also opted not to require its 1,680 personnel manning the Quiapo procession to wear adult diapers.
Last year, MMDA purchased P120,000 worth of diapers but only about 300 of its personnel wore the sanitary pads.
Ecowaste also cautioned national and local politicians from taking advantage of the Black Nazarene feast as a vehicle for their political campaign.
“We ask all politicos not to engage in ‘tarpaulitics’ and to keep Plaza Miranda and the processional route tarpaulin-free,” said Lucero.
They described ‘Tarpaulitics’ as the shameless use of tarpaulins to publicize the faces and names of politicians for the purpose of establishing familiarity and support among the voters.