Other face of the festivity
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - January 19, 2019 - 12:00am

The religious feast in honor of the Santo Niño, as it becomes the leading and foremost cultural event of the country year after year, draws more crowds and it is getting bigger as the organizers promise to have something new or twists each year.


At the back of the revelry cloaks the murky and sullied side of reality, the lack of discipline of the people. And there seems to be no end as every year the same scene can be seen. Trash is ubiquitous and people seem not to care about the eyesore as their attention is grabbed by the colors, the personalities, and the movements. As if it’s a day not to see the ugly and dirty. And yes, very true especially as grand as the Sinulog.

Worldwide, a field of garbage left behind by the more than 115,000 people who attended the 2015 Pemberton Music Festival, has attracted outrage in social media.

In 2016, it cost $25,000 to tidy up 11 tons of garbage in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park after cannabis enthusiasts swarmed to the scene for an offhand festival celebrating pot. The social affair is held every year in light of the fact that the time 4:20 a.m. or p.m. has been associated with smoking marijuanua since the 1970s and the date April 20 has turned into a counterculture occasion.

Summer music festivals are going full speed ahead, which implies that a huge number of eager fans are enjoying the great outdoors adjacent, prepared to party. Huge problems emerge, in any case, when it comes time for them to leave and pack up, in light of the fact that the campers don’t pack up. They simply forsake all their stuff and abandon it for another person to tidy up – generally waste contractors hired by the music festival to collect everything and dump it unsorted into a landfill.

In 2017, the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square produced 50 tons of waste. It’s a test for the cleaners since aside from working in freezing cold temperatures, precipitation can make it significantly harder to remove paper-thin confetti.

Back to Cebu, last year the estimated two million people who joined the Sinulog grand parade left more than 200 tons of garbage in the streets of Cebu City. And the figure is increasing, higher compared to the 135 tons of garbage collected during the grand parade the previous year.

Isn’t it funny that garbage collection authorities would recommend every year that the zero waste practice be fully implemented into the curriculum of schools so students can practice it in their homes, or is it the other way around? It is in the homes that children are first made aware of the importance of proper waste disposal. And who else could let them practice this? Their parents.

Such supposed civic responsibility of the people in the proper disposal of garbage especially during the Sinulog festivities when hundreds and thousands of tourists join the celebration doesn’t seem to seep into their consciousness.

More than ever it becomes imperative to educate our people about the health and other risks associated with the use and disposal of plastics, including pollution of our oceans, water, and wildlife, and about the growing body of evidence that decomposing plastics are creating serious global problems. And for the Sinulog, we don’t want to tarnish its outstanding credibility in the world stage.


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