14 January 2018

Pandacan and Tondo Folks Urged to Go Easy on Wasteful Plastic Banderitas

Pandacan, Manila
Pandacan, Manila
Tondo, Manila
Tondo, Manila
Tondo, Manila
Pandacan, Manila

As the popular feast of the Santo NiƱo is celebrated in Pandacan today and in Tondo next Sunday, a waste and pollution watch group appealed to barangay leaders and residents to minimize, if not eliminate, the unbridled use of wasteful fiesta garlands.

Commonly known as “banderitas” or “lastay,” the fiesta buntings have become an environmental nuisance with the thoughtless use of new single use plastic bags and other disposable plastics that only add to the fiesta garbage, the EcoWaste Coalition pointed out.

The group’s Basura Patrollers yesterday visited the Pandacan and Tondo districts and were again appalled to witness the out-of-control use of plastic bags and other disposable buntings to decorate streets and alleys.

“We are disappointed with the wild use of plastic buntings in Pandacan and Tondo as if the city of Manila is not facing any garbage problem.  The fiesta buntings are like litter in the sky that will surely end up being hauled to the Vitas Marine Loading Station in Tondo for final disposal at the Navotas landfill,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“It’s only few days after Manila’s Department of Public Services collected 75 truckloads of trash (approximately 385 tons) during the recently held feast of the Black Nazarene, and the city’s waste and sanitation personnel are already bracing for another fiesta-related garbage challenge,” he added.

The group has insisted that fiesta banderitas have no aesthetic, functional or spiritual value and contribute nothing but residual garbage that could even contaminate the oceans and harm aquatic life.     

The super light plastic bags are very problematic as these are easily blown away to canals and esteros and into the Pasig River and Manila Bay, contributing to the worsening marine litter, the group said.

“Do we really believe plastic bag banderitas add color, joy and meaning to the celebration of the feast of the Holy Child?,” Alejandre asked.

“It’s high time that we put a cap on non-essential uses of plastics such as the wild use of plastic bags as fiesta buntings,” he emphasized. 

With the global plastics crisis worsening, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the churches, local authorities and communities to switch to zero waste celebrations and rally behind the enforcement of stringent policies to prevent and reduce plastic garbage such as Manila City Ordinance 8282.

It cited the resolution adopted by the United Nations Environment Assembly last December 2017 calling for accelerated action and strengthened partnerships to combat the spread of marine plastic litter and microplastics.


10 January 2018

Trash Taints "Generally Peaceful" Traslacion (Trash-less Feast of the Black Nazarene Remains an Elusive Dream - Environmental Watch Group)

“Magpasalamat, hindi magkalat.”

The waste and pollution watch group EcoWaste Coalition made this remark as it bewailed the widespread littering that again tainted the 22-hour mammoth procession in reverence for the Black Nazarene.

“We are deeply saddened by the sight of garbage in Rizal Park where the procession of the venerated image began following an all-night vigil, and along the processional route,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. 

“The lack of environmental concern has again stained the awe-inspiring expression of faith and trust in the Black Nazarene that devotees ask for help to solve personal or family issues, including health and financial troubles that could have been caused or worsened by a degraded and polluted environment,” he added. 

“Our plea for a trash-less Traslacion remains an elusive dream,” he lamented. “We hope devotees will heed our appeal for waste prevention and reduction next year.”

At the Rizal Park, the devotees left a huge mess for government workers and for church and school volunteers to clean up, observed Alejandre.

Some of the photos taken by the group’s Basura Patrollers at Rizal Park and Quiapo can be seen here:
Rizal Park:


At the open area fronting the Quirino Grandstand, the group’s Basura Patrollers saw heaps of garbage consisting of corrugated boxes, foils, newspapers and plastics used as sleeping mats; food and beverage packaging such as 3-in-1 coffee sachets, cup noodles, paper and plastic cups and polystyrene containers; food leftovers; plastic bags; and cigarette butts.  

“The overnight vigil was a good opportunity for families to bond together and for the children to get to know the Black Nazarene.  Unfortunately, many simply dumped their discards at the very spot where they spent the night,” Alejandre said.

While portable toilets were available for free use by the public, some devotees chose to urinate in the open, or pee in pet bottles.

The group also assailed the sale and use of cigarettes inside the Rizal Park, which is a “no smoking zone.”  
As reported by the group’s Basura Patrollers, the streets of Quiapo were teeming not only with people, but also with garbage, including discarded plastic bags  and polystyrene food containers that are supposedly restricted under Manila City Ordinance 8282.

Plastic bottles and polystyrene food containers, including those given by big-hearted individuals, were left lying in sidewalks and street gutters.

Meanwhile, the group thanked the waste pickers who patiently retrieved recyclable items left by the devotees such as PET bottles (except those with urine), corrugated boards and others that can be sold to junk shops.   The retrieval of recyclables reduces the volume of waste and prevent valuable resources from being hauled to the dump.  

It likewise lauded the hundreds of waste and sanitation workers from national and local government agencies, as well as the Green Brigade volunteers of Quiapo Church from various parishes and schools, for picking up the garbage left by devotees and vendors alike.


09 January 2018

Not a Trash-less Traslacion: The Trashing of Quiapo

The following photos were taken in Quiapo, Manila on 9 January 2018 between 4:00 - 6:00 pm.

Not a Trash-less Traslacion: The Trashing of Luneta

The above photos were taken on 9 January 2018, between 6:00-7:30 am, at the start of the Traslacion of the Black Nazarene in Rizal Park, Manila.