Pilgrims hit for littering in Antipolo

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Members of environmentalist group EcoWaste Coalition yesterday criticized the pilgrims for dumping garbage along the roads leading to Antipolo Church during Lent.

Tens of thousands of people joined the Alay-Lakad to the shrine of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo City on Maundy Thursday.

EcoWaste Coalition Aileen Lucero said the faithful tossed all types of rubbish – from cigarette butts, snack wrappers, plastic bags and bottles, paper cups and bowls to bamboo skewers and coconut fronds – along the road.

Lucero said areas where the pilgrims stopped to rest, particularly sidewalks in front of shopping malls and convenience stores, as well as street gutters, were dotted with litter.

“Even the hallowed grounds of the Antipolo Cathedral were not spared,” she added.

Lucero urged the faithful to seriously take what Pope Francis said in Laudato Si that “the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth” and ditch the dumping habit.

“Dumping defiles the environment and threatens public health,” she said.

The group commended the street cleaners of the city government for their patience in collecting the garbage.

“The city proper would have become a pigsty if not for the 24-hour sweeping by the city personnel,” Lucero said.

EcoWaste hailed the waste pickers, who collected discarded plastic bottles and boxes to sell them to junk shops.

The group also criticized the campaign posters attached to fences, lamp posts and walls along Ortigas Avenue Extension and Juan Sumulong Highway.

“The political tarpaulins appeared to be competing for the pilgrims’ attention. While the candidates were not physically present, their posters were all over the streets and doing exactly the campaigning for them,” Lucero added.

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