As the shopping frenzy peaked on the last weekend before Christmas, a Catholic bishop and an ecological group appealed to Filipino consumers to "temper their trash."
Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez Jr., head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines public affairs unit, urged the public to reduce what the EcoWaste Coalition dubbed "holitrash"—the unholy tons of trash produced during the holidays.
While shopping for gifts for friends and loved ones, Iñiguez encouraged families to also think of Mother Earth.
“Recycling is a practical gift that we all can give our Mother Earth during this joyful season of love and hope. I therefore encourage all families to shed consumerism and the ensuing throw-away culture and to waste less by recycling more. A family that recycles together builds a healthy home together,” said Iñiguez on the EcoWaste Coalition website.
EcoWaste president Roy Alvarez noted that Filipinos "generate more trash during the yuletide season given the blast of activities that eat up huge amounts of resources and yield volumes of discards.”
Citing government data, the group said Metro Manila generates up to 8,600 tons of waste daily or about 25 percent of the national waste production of some 35,000 tons per day.
Of this, 30 to 50 percent of get collected and disposed of in 643 open dumpsites, 384 controlled dumpsites and 38 landfills.
“People shop, dine and socialize a lot during the extended holidays producing extra tons of holitrash, which, if not reused or recycled, will turn into garbage and get buried or burned somewhere,” Alvarez said.
He urged the public to tone down consumption and disposal habits, as well as to segregate discards and creatively reuse or recycle them, so that waste will be diverted from disposal facilities.
"It's not waste until it's wasted," said Alvarez.
The group gave tips on its website, such as avoiding plastic bags, disposable products and excessive wrapping. They reminded the public to use organics as compost to enrich depleted soils, and to recycle non-biodegradables like cans, glass, metal, paper and plastic.
The group suggested that in the true spirit of Christmas, food should be shared with friends, neighbors and the homeless. They emphasized that recycling should go beyond the holidays, as its benefits include reduced garbage, disposal costs, conservation of resources, saved energy, and extra income, and it builds eco-conscious families and communities. –CGL/KG, GMA News