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Catholics urged to practice 'greener' Holy Week pilgrimage.

The EcoWaste Coalition urged Catholics on Easter Sunday to strive for a 'greener' spiritual pilgrimage next time as it capped its campaign for a trash-free Holy Week.

The environmental group scored devotees for leaving their trash in pilgrim sites, and worse, burning them. Among the trash group members sighted were discarded beverage and food containers, snack packs, plastic bags, cigarette butts, and improvised materials for sitting, picnicking and sleeping.

'The dumping and burning of trash that happened in pilgrimage sites and the roads leading to them are totally inexcusable,' Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator, said in a statement. 'There is no excuse for defiling the environment, the sustainer of all life, with pollutants that can cause harm to personal as well as community health.'

'Litterbugs cannot continue throwing litter anywhere they please because someone would pick up after them, or because they would be able to get away with it despite being a punishable offense under our national and local environmental laws,' she added.

The group said it obtained photos of mounds of trash, including burned garbage, taken on Black Saturday at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, a popular Lenten pilgrimage site.

EcoWaste noted that setting garbage on fire would contaminate the air with pollutants that may have to serious impact on health.

Both littering and open burning are forbidden and punishable under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (Republic Act 9003) and its corresponding local ordinances.

The group, however, was optimistic 'that pilgrims will mind their trash next time, and embrace the saying 'cleanliness is next to godliness' to heart, especially when they carry out penitential acts.'

'The activities in remembrance of the Passion of Christ should not generate 'holitrash.' Instead of adding to our garbage and climate woes, the solemn week should inspire us to clean our hearts and strengthen our respect for Mother Earth and other beings,' the group said.

'Wasteful penitential acts should die away as we struggle to live amid the changing climate,' it added.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Apr 16, 2017
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