Netizens slam devotees, tourists for leaving trash in Holy Week sites
MANILA, Philippines – Netizens have called out devotees and tourists who left piles of trash in pilgrimage and vacation sites as they observed Holy Week.
Irate netizens voiced their criticism after photos of trash-littered pilgrimage sites and vacation spots spread on social media on Friday, March 30.
Photos of trash along the path of the alay lakad (march offering) in Antipolo, the pilgrimage site of Malasag in Cagayan de Oro, and at the Grotto of Our Lady Lourdes in San Jose del Monte in Bulacan were among those shared by netizens. They condemned the lack of discipline of people who left their trash on the ground.
Tourists spots were not spared as well. Families who spent Holy Week in Masasa beach in Tingloy, Batangas, littered their vacation site.
Altogether, the posts have been shared more than 22,500 times on Facebook and gathered more than 20,000 reactions as of posting.
Netizens said this Holy Week behavior is ironic considering the Catholic church's calls for a change in lifestyle in response to climate change.
In his groundbreaking encyclical letter “Laudato Si” in 2015, Pope Francis has urged the world to act quickly to prevent "extraordinary" climate change from destroying the planet which “is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”
“Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it, and thus in constant interaction with it,” Pope Francis said.
Ahead of the Holy Week, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) repeatedly urged the public to make the annual observance of lent as environment-friendly as possible.
“It does not take much to keep our environment clean. Every effort, when taken together, will result to clean water, clean air, clean land, healthy forests and rich biodiversity. Let’s all do our share,” DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said in as statement on Friday, March 16.
The viral photos of garbage, however, proved that these reminders have fallen on deaf ears. (READ: Devotees leave 15 trucks of garbage after Nazareno 2018 procession)
Below are some netizens' comments on the posts of trash left in pilgrimage sites and tourist spots.
Appeal to the church
Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition joined netizens in denouncing the irresponsible acts that "tainted the traditional acts of devotion and penance" performed by the Filipino Catholic faithful during Holy Week.
Since 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of Catholic bishops' thought-provoking 1988 pastoral letter on ecology – “What is Happening to Our Beautiful Land” – the EcoWaste Coalition also urged church leaders to release a new statement that will encourage people to take further action to protect and preserve the integrity of creation, including the greening of faith activities.
“Just like in previous years, the Lenten pilgrimage to both religious sites left a trail of trash that is totally unbefitting of the spiritual journey that many devotees do to affirm their faith, ask forgiveness for past wrongs and give thanks for blessings received,” said EcoWaste Coalition Zero Waste Campaigner Daniel Alejandre in a statement.
“We surely are not happy with what we saw, but hope springs eternal in the human heart. We therefore reiterate our appeal to the faithful to care for Mother Earth, sustainer of all life, as they fulfill their religious vows. Faith-inspired endeavors should set a higher benchmark for environmental stewardship,” Alejandre added.
In support of “Laudato Si,” Philippine bishops in 2015 called for a "courageous review" of policies and lifestyles even to non-Christians.
“We are not owners of the earth. We are its stewards, to keep and cherish and nurture its resources not only for ourselves but for future generations," the CBCP said then. – Rappler.com