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Tons of ‘Undas’ trash left behind

Despite constant reminders, people who trooped to public cemeteries and private memorial parks for the traditional observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days left behind tons of garbage, earning the ire of environmental groups bewildered by such repeated occurrences.

Such throw-away culture in the celebration of the annual “Undas’’ typified anew the people’s lukewarm attitude and total disregard for the preservation of the environment, prompting cause-oriented groups to call on the government to impose strict sanctions as they called for the full implementation of the anti-littering an anti-dumping law.

Aileen Lucero, national coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition, a watch group on waste and pollution, said “the culture of throwing discards wherever and whenever it is convenient again spoiled our time-honored tradition of remembering our departed relatives.” “Many people still litter, rain or shine. The repeated reminders from government, church, political, and environmental leaders were no match for these hardened litterbugs,” Lucero said.

Based on the group’s monitoring of 15 private and public cemeteries in Metro Manila and in Cavite and Rizal, many visitors failed to bring home their discards for proper recycling and disposal at home.

The group bewailed the rampant littering in the Caloocan City Public Cemetery, Manila North Cemetery, Manila South Cemetery in Makati City, Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City, and the Bagbag Cemetery in Quezon City.

Bagbag Cemetery garnered the “Basurapamore” tag from the group for being the most littered among the 15 cemeteries visited by the group.

Photos of Bagbag’s littered tombs, streets, and alleys, copies of which were furnished to the Office of Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, can be viewed at the EcoWaste blog (http://ecowastecoalition. blogspot.com).

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Parkway Clearing Group head Reymond Espino said they collected eight dump trucks of garbage, mostly plastic and styrofoam, from 5 a.m. to 12 noon yesterday at the Manila North Cemetary.

Espino bewailed the lack of discipline people have on proper waste disposal at cemeteries year in and year out during Undas.

“Ganun din. Paulit ulit lang,” Espino said. “Hindi naman namin sila masubaybayan dahil sa dagsa ng tao kaya ‘yung sa bungad lang ang nababantayan namin.”

“Kung saan na lang nila maitapon ang mga basura. Kailangan pa namin sumiksik sa mga sulok para lang malinis,” he said. “Sana naman kung di nila kayang dalhin palabas ang basura, dalhin man lang sa mga designated place para madali nang ma-pick up.” (With reports from Jaimie Rose A. Aberia) (Chito A. Chavez)