10 ways to observe a garbage-free 'Undas'
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – No doubt, the amount of garbage in cemeteries increases tremendously during the "Undas." Visiting families often bring food, candles, and other paraphernalia that end up as trash littering the resting places of the dead.
“Our message is simple: the cemetery is a place of prayer not a garbage. The massive ‘Undas’ littering year in, year out is a gross disrespect for the dead and Mother Earth," said EcoWaste Coalition campaigner Tin Vergara.
The group recommended eco-friendly "cemetery etiquette" for All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day on November 1 and 2.
Here are EcoWaste Coalition's "cemetiquette" tips:
1. Choose clean-burning, lead-free candles that do not yield black fumes or soot. Set alight a limited number of candles to reduce heat and pollution. Do not let candles’ plastic receptacles or holders burn.
2. Offer local fresh flowers, not plastic ones, or consider bringing potted plants and flowers instead. Simple, inexpensive flowers will do. Avoid wrapping floral or plant offerings in plastic, which will sooner or later end up as trash.
3. Bring your own water jug to avoid purchasing bottled water. Discarded plastic bottles add up to the country’s garbage problem. Plastic bottles, which are petrochemical products, also require lots of oil and chemicals to manufacture. Please watch The Story of Bottled Water to find out why: http://storyofstuff.org/bottledwater/
4. Go for waste-free meals. Say yes to reusable carriers, containers, and utensils, such as lunchboxes and thermos, cloth napkins, and silverware. Say no to throw-away bags, wraps, foil or Styrofoam, paper napkins, and forks and spoons. Also, refrain from patronizing junk food and go for simple yet nutritious home-prepared baon.
5. Buy less or only as much as you can consume in terms of food and beverage to avoid spoilage or wastage. Bring bayong or other reusable bags to carry your stuff and purchases, and refuse plastic bags and wrappers from vendors.
6. Cut your waste size by not creating trash in the first place such as by purchasing products with the least amount of packaging and avoiding single-use plastics.
7. Don’t litter, dump, or burn trash in the cemetery. Do not throw candy wrappers, discarded packaging, fruit peels, etc. on the ground. Remember to leave the resting place of your loved ones litter-free.
8. Put your discards into the recycling bins if available. Better still, place them in your reusable bags and bring them home for sorting, reusing, recycling or composting.
9. Relieve yourself only in the proper place. Keep the urinal or toilet bowl clean as a courtesy to the next user. Do not defecate or urinate in public places.
10. Refrain from smoking in the cemetery. Be considerate to the children, the elderly, pregnant women, and others around you who may be saddled with respiratory and heart ailments.
No to 'epaliticos'
With elections only months away, the group expects "epaliticos" to take advantage of the huge crowds that amass in cemeteries during Undas.
They asked politicians not to hang or nail tarps on lamp posts and trees in cemeteries and adjacent communities.
They also appealed to other groups to refrain from distributing commercial leaflets to cemetery-goers knowing these pieces of paper will only end up littering the area.
Manila North Cemetery OIC Raffy Mendez said cemetery visitors must contribute their efforts.
"The cemetery management and staff can only do so much and we surely need the people to help and be involved. With the full cooperation of the visitors, vendors and other considerate citizens, we can certainly make our cemeteries cleaner places to visit for safer family and friendly gatherings," he said.
“As we visit and commemorate our deceased loved ones, we need to keep in mind that cemeteries are sacred place and not graveyards for our unwanted trash," said Vergara.
“We must celebrate this occasion with simplicity, spirituality, and utter respect for both the dead and the living by keeping the cemeteries waste-free, toxics-free, and trouble-free,” she added. – Pia Ranada/Rappler.com