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DENR pushes eco-friendly Christmas

Tourists take a picture in Manila’s Rizal Park yesterday. Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has urged Filipinos to celebrate Christmas in an environment-friendly way by avoiding overindulgence and managing their waste properly.

The group EcoWaste Coalition made the same appeal earlier this month.

“Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year but unfortunately, it is also the most wasteful,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said.

EcoWaste said the volume of waste produced soars during the holiday season as people shop, party, dine and have fun.

“Sad to say, the throwaway culture is at its worst during the Christmas season. In Metro Manila, for instance, waste generation during Christmastime is estimated to rise from 0.7 kilo to 1.2 kilo (per person per day),” Daniel Alejandre, zero waste campaigner of EcoWaste, said.

The most discarded items during Christmas and New Year celebrations include paper and plastic shopping bags; all sorts of packaging materials; party wares, including single-use paper and plastic beverage and food containers; bags, boxes and wrappers for gifts and tons of food waste, according to the group.

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Cimatu and Alejandre said people could reduce the environmental impact of the holiday season by practicing the 3Rs of solid waste management – reduce, reuse and recycle.

“The situation is not entirely hopeless. We can curb what we throw away by applying the 3Rs and by keeping Christ in the manger, an utmost reminder of the simplicity of Christmas, at the heart of the festive celebration,” Alejandre said.

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