MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) fears the volume of garbage will again shoot up this week, a scenario seen yearly during public events like All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said: “We will never get tired of reminding the public about proper waste disposal until the time comes when all of us who troop to cemeteries during Undas show respect for both the living and the dead.”
He said an estimated 30,000 tons of garbage is generated in the country every day, with 8,000 tons produced in Metro Manila alone. The volume shoots up during public events.
“As we visit our departed loved ones, let us show our respect for them by making their final resting place garbage-free. By doing this, we also spare ourselves, the living, from the adverse effects of improper waste management,” Paje said.
He said that source reduction, or waste prevention, is key to minimizing the amount of garbage.
He recommended the use of reusable or recyclable containers, such as lunch box, for those who are planning to bring food to cemeteries.
He also urged people to avoid disposables. Use cloth diapers, cloth napkins, real towels and handkerchiefs, rechargeable batteries, reusable plates, glasses and cutlery silverware instead of one-time use products, he added. “It’s wasteful to only use something once and throw it away.”
Paje also called on cemetery authorities and local government officials to place trash bins in cemeteries.
He warned against open burning of garbage, which may produce toxic pollutants.
He also suggested the following:
- Bring only a sufficient amount of food. Take home any leftovers and feed to your pets or use as compost.
- Place candles in reusable glass containers. Keep watch over lighted candles to avoid accidental fires. Collect melted candle wax to make new candles or sell to traders.
- Use fresh flowers without plastic wrapping, or potted plants to help purify the air.
- Throw out stagnant water that could be a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects.
- For those driving to out-of-town destinations, they can reduce their carbon footprint by car pooling or using public transport. Car owners should also ensure that their vehicles are well-maintained.