With 10 million devotees expected to take part in the Traslacion of the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Saturday in Manila, an environmental watchdog issued an appeal against littering and smoking.
"Respetuhin ng mga deboto 'yung no littering, no smoking lalo na sa Rizal Park na isang national park. Nasa batas, nasa RA 9003 na dapat pine-penalize 'yung mga mahuhuling magli-litter," Aileen Lucero, national coordinator of Ecowaste Coalition, said in a report by Mark Zambrano on Unang Balita on Thursday.
Lucero asked devotees to throw their garbage in waste cans. "Itapon lang 'yung mga basura, mga pinaglagyan ng pagkain sa tamang lalagyan," she said.
The group also urged vendors to gather empty food containers and water bottles and dispose of these properly.
It added that every year, devotees leave much trash on the streets and esteros (creeks) along the Traslacion (procession) route.
Lucero said the trash left by devotees increase each year.
"Three hundred sixty-three tons nu'ng 2014. Four hundred thirteen tons nu'ng 2015. At sinasabi ngayon ay First Friday, tapos Saturday 'yung pagpasan, sampung milyon 'yung inaasahang deboto. So ang ina-accumulate natin at tinitingnan talaga na kalat ay from First Friday at Saturday," she said.
Officials of Quiapo Church which is the home of the image of the Black Nazarene supported this appeal by the group, especially since the Pope himself called for people to care for the environment.
"Kailangan natin isabuhay ang sinabi ni Santo Papa, 'di ba. Meron tayong adbokasya para sa climate justice. Meron siyang encyclical, 'yung Laudato Si. Ika nga, 'yung pangangalaga sa kalikasan," Rev. Msgr. Hernando Coronel, rector of Quiapo Church, said.
Volunteers of the church also organized a Green Brigade to clean up the trash in coordination with government agencies, the report said. —KG, GMA News