Groups wish for an eco-friendly Christmas this year

Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 16 2021 07:15 PM

Children join members of Caritas Philippines and Eco-Waste Coalition during a zero waste campaign event at the Plaza Roma in Intramuros Manila on Sunday. The group encouraged the public to prevent and reduce trash during the festive Christmas and New Year celebrations to address environmental pollution.
Children join members of Caritas Philippines and Eco-Waste Coalition during a zero waste campaign event at the Plaza Roma in Intramuros Manila on Sunday. The group encouraged the public to prevent and reduce trash during the festive Christmas and New Year celebrations to address environmental pollution.

MANILA -- Environmental and animal rights groups on Thursday called on the public to keep the earth in mind as they celebrate the Christmas season. 

The groups said the holidays usually result in “extra trash and solid waste beyond what is normally generated”, hence the need to be more mindful of how to behave, what to consume and how to throw garbage during the Yuletide season. 

They also asked the public not to buy and give animals as gifts, since receivers might not be ready for pet ownership. 

“Pag binigay as surprise, usually ang tao, hindi handa. Okay lang siya ngayon. One year, cute ang hayop. At 'pag nagkasakit na... walang panggamot,” said Anna Cabrera of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

(People are not usually prepared to accept surprise presents. They are fine with it at first. They find the pets cute during the first year. But when the pet gets sickly... they don't have funds to get the animal treated.)

“Kung merong pets na ibibigay na mangyayari, sana i-discuss sa family members… Sana mag-adopt na lang ang mga tao. Sana i-consider ang mga pets sa shelter dahil kawawa naman. Kung walang mapupuntahan sila ay i-euthanize na after a certain period of time na nasa city pound.”

(If indeed pets are being given as presents, I hope family members discuss about this... I hope people can just adopt pets. They can consider pets in shelters because if these animals in the city pound have nowhere else to go, they will be euthanized after a certain period of time.) 

They also called on the public not to patronize or watch animal shows such as dolphin shows.

“Ito ay animal cruelty in disguise. Hindi masaya ang mga dolphins sila ay dapat nasa wild, hindi sila dapat kina-capture," Cabrera said.

(This is animal cruelty in disguise. The dolphins are not happy being there, because they are supposed to be in the wild and should not be captured.)

"In fact, ang mga sariling batas, ipinagbabawal na ang mga dolphins ay i-capture... Pero nakakalusot ang mga taong ito kasi sinasabi nila, rescue facility sila. Pero never na napakawalan ang mga dolphins kahit na ni-rehabilitate,” she said.

(In fact, our own laws prohibit the capture of dolphins... But people can get away with it because they claim they run a rescue facility. But they never release the dolphins to the sea after the rehabilitation.)

The groups advised the public as well not to buy any gift from the country’s top polluters.

They are also urging the public to use recyclable materials in wrapping gifts. 

Bringing one's own utensils and reusable containers when going out is also important, they said.

They encourage the public to bring eco-bags when shopping.

Instead of going to malls and closed areas, the people may opt to visit green spaces and eco parks, they said.

“Sana wag na tayong mamasyal sa mga malulupit na entertainment tulad ng animal shows. Pumunta na lang po tayo sa mga parks, sa mga open spaces. Mas maganda,” said Trixie Concepcion of Earth Island Institute.

(I hope we don't patronize cruel entertainment events like animal shows. Let us go instead to parks, open spaces. That is better.)

“Mag-bike na lang po tayo doon. Mas healthy, mas makakaiwas tayo sa traffic," she said. 

(We can do biking there. It's healthier and we can also avoid being stuck in traffic.)

For noche buena, the groups suggest that people go for plant-based food.

And if there is excess, donated them to the less fortunate, they said.

“Mas magiging healthy ang ating noche buena... Kung may sosobra, ibigay ang mga sobrang pagkain sa mga community pantries para sa ating nangangailangang kababayan,” said Concepcion.

(Let's have healthier food for noche buena... If there is excess food, let's share the food to community pantries for people who need it.)

Finally, they called on the public to listen to the platforms of Halalan 2022 candidates and vote for those who push for climate justice.

“Nakikita na natin ngayon pa lang, andami nang nangangampanya… Gusto naming manawagan sa isang malinis na pangangampanya--literally and figuratively. Wala masyadong kalat,” said Concepcion.

(We can see that as early as now, many aspirants are already active in their campaign activities... We are calling for clean campaigning, literally and figuratively. They should not leave a lot of mess.)

“Bawal na bawal na magpako ng any kind of campaign material sa puno. Sana gumamit ng mga recyclable na campaign materials, na 'di makalat. At mas importante po, pumili po tayo ng mga kandidato na may track record para sa environment,” she added.

(It's strongly prohibited for any kind of campaign material to be nailed on trees. I hope they use recyclable campaign materials. And more importantly, let's choose candidates who have a pro-environment track record.)

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