Climate and Environment

EcoWaste reminds families to keep cemeteries trash-free

EcoWaste reminds families to keep cemeteries trash-free
Families start visiting their departed love ones at the at Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City on October 20, 2021.
The STAR/Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — An environmental safety watchdog reminded families who will visit their departed loved ones this coming Undas to keep our cemeteries trash-free.

The pandemic task force has already ordered the closure of cemeteries, memorial parks and columbarium across the country from October 29 to November due to the threat of COVID-19.

But the public can still visit these places on other days, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in a taped weekly meeting that aired Tuesday night.

EcoWaste Coalition reminded the public who will visit cemeteries to not leave garbage “as a show of respect to the dead and to Mother Earth too.”

“Aside from the minimum public health protocols that all visitors must observe, we enjoin everyone to leave nothing but flowers and prayers in the cemeteries,” EcoWase Coalition’s Zero Waster Campaigner Jove Benosa said.

EcoWaste said that their annual monitoring of Undas before the pandemic hit showed “massive generation of mixed discards” such as food containers, wrappers and leftovers in cemeteries across the country, especially in Metro Manila.

“Pandemic or no pandemic, we are called to observe Undas in a respectful way that will not transform our cemeteries into instant garbage dumps,” Benosa continued.

EcoWaste instead urged the public to follow these tips:

  • Eat at home to avoid bringing food to the graveyard.
  • If food is really needed, bring just enough amount in reusable containers and be sure to bring the containers and any leftovers home.
  • Carry with you potable water in a reusable container to avoid consuming bottled water.
  • Use reusable carry bags for your essentials instead of single-use plastic bags.
  • Strictly leave no trash behind.

The coalition also raised the fear that some politicians and political parties may use Undas to flood cemeteries and nearby areas with tarpaulins. They urged those who may be running in the next polls to refrain from doing so.

EcoWaste also urged those in charge of cemeteries to strictly enforce Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act that bans and penalzies littering, open dumping and open burning of discards.

This is the second year for the Philippines to close cemeteries during Undas due to the pandemic.

During visits before or after Undas, Año has also said cemeteries are allowed only up to 30% capacity, and should strictly follow the government's minimum public health standards.  — Kristine Joy Patag with reports from Christian Deiparine





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