MANILA, Philippines – The Ecowaste Coalition on Friday, April 19, “lamented” widespread littering by tourists at famous pilgrimage sites across Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
These pilgrimage sites, mostly located in Bulacan and Rizal, include Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine in San Jose del Monte City, the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Marilao, and the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral in Antipolo City.
The Basura Patrollers team already filed a report about trash problem in the said destinations.
The report said the tourists usually discarded paper and plastic materials used for picnics, plastic bags, food packaging, food leftovers, and lots of plastic bottles.
EcoWaste Coalition National Coordinator Aileen Lucero appealed to devotees to be conscientious for a “garbage-free Holy Week.”
“It’s apparent that many devotees have yet to appreciate the connection between the expression of our faith and our responsibility to take good care of our shared environment. Environmental apathy, sad to say, is still very prevalent,” she said.
A waste problem
Visitors at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine, for instance, left improvised sleeping materials – including election campaign posters – scattered around the church and the Stations of the Cross.
The space fronting the giant Divine Mercy statue in the National Shrine of Divine Mercy was also full of rubbish.
The main stairs at the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral were filled with plastic bottles and plastic wrappers.
Lucero was also dismayed to see bread given by good Samaritans wasted.
The EcoWasteCoalition reminded the faithful that faith-inspired activities should serve as a “benchmark” for environmental protection, not additional burdens to the country’s waste and pollution problems.
Also of note for the season is Earth Day which will be celebrated on Monday, April 22.
“Let us be reminded by what our bishops have said: ‘We are not owners of the earth. We are its stewards, to keep and cherish and nurture its resources not only for ourselves but for future generations’,” Lucero concluded. – Rappler.com
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