Observe a trash-free Holy Week

April 15, 2019

The EcoWaste Coalition is calling  on the Christian faithful to observe a greener Holy Week  by helping prevent garbage and pollution.

“The Holy Week is a perfect time to reflect on our wastefulness that is consuming lots of finite resources and creating huge quantities of garbage that often end up in the streets, dumps and the oceans, or as feedstocks for cement kilns and incinerators,” the group said.

Citing government estimates that 40,000 tons of garbage is generated per day throughout the country and that 9,872 tons of these are  produced in Metro Manila alone,  the group urged  the faithful “to reflect on our wastefulness that is consuming lots of finite resources. . . . and ask all to perform acts of kindness and mercy toward Mother Earth,” such as the following:

1.  Abandon acts that defile and pollute the environment such as littering, dumping and burning of discards.

2.  Keep all activities lead-safe: shun candles with lead-cored wicks and paints with lead content.  
3.  Cut emissions by taking public transport, biking or walking for the seven churches visitation, or Visita Iglesia, on Maundy Thursday .

4.  Use recycled materials for the makeshift huts for the traditional Pabasa (Reading of the Passion of Christ).

5.  For the traditional giving or sharing of food called Caridad, shun disposable paper or plastic and opt for reusable containers.

6.  Ensure a litter-free pilgrimage to the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral in Antipolo City, the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in San Jose del Monte City and other shrines.

7.  Green the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) by collecting litter along the way.

8.  Decorate the floats for the Santo Entierro (Holy Interment) on Good Friday with energy-efficient and mercury-free LED lamps and with locally-produced flowers and plants.

9.  Welcome the Risen Christ on Easter Sunday without lighting firecrackers and fireworks and without releasing balloons.

10.  Keep Easter fun games and activities for kids simple and not wasteful.

11.  Donate used clothes and other items of service to the Segunda Mana charity program of Caritas Manila.

12.  Quiet down and opt for “staycation” at home for a meaningful bonding time with family members.

13.  For those going out of the city for their summer vacation, make your trip plastic-free, trash-free: “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.”

I will add to that: avoid trash language.

The group brought up Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical on the environment "Laudato Si" in which he decried that "each year hundreds of millions of tons of waste are generated, much of it non-biodegradable, highly toxic and radioactive, from homes and businesses, from construction and demolition sites, from clinical, electronic and industrial sources."  

“As faith without works is dead,” the EcoWaste Coalition added, “we ask all to perform acts of mercy and kindness toward Mother Earth that will prevent and reduce the generation of wastes and other pollutants, especially during the holy days and beyond. ”