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Paje urges public to minimize trash during Undas

MANILA, Oct. 30 — Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje has called on Filipinos to avoid generating unnecessary waste and pollution as they troop to cemeteries to remember their departed loved ones this weekend.

“Let us turn All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day into a more meaningful and memorable experience by minimizing waste and pollution in cemeteries,” Paje said.

He warned that “small acts, whether negative or positive, when taken collectively can have such a drastic impact on the environment.”

“It takes as little as using recyclable containers to contain your food, from candies to meals and drinks, to reduce the waste that is collected or otherwise end up in our waterways,” Paje pointed out.

Citing a 2013 report by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Paje said that about a hundred truckloads of garbage were collected from various cemeteries in the nation’s capital region alone.

As a friendly reminder, Paje urged those who will troop to cemeteries to bring only enough food to avoid wastage, use fresh flowers or potted plants without plastic wrappings, and not to leave their trash behind.

The environment chief also encouraged cemetery administrators to set up enough strategically-located receptacles for different types of waste, and to strictly implement waste-related local ordinances like prohibiting the use of plastic bags.

Paje likewise proposed setting up barangay brigades that would go around cemeteries and monitor littering incidents.

“Local government units should exercise political will in enforcing provisions of Republic Act No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. This includes penalizing a person caught littering with a fine from Php 300 to Php 1,000, or render community service,” he said.

He also provided the following tips for motorists during Undas:

* Carpool or use bigger vehicles to accommodate more family members, and lessen the number of trips to and from the cemeteries.

* Use alternate roads with less traffic, and avoid peak traffic hours.

* Park a good distance from the cemetery to lessen congestion, and walk the rest of the way. Use bicycles, if possible.

* Make sure that vehicles are well-maintained prior to the trip. Avail of free tune-up services offered by oil companies during the holidays. (PNA)

SCS/PR/RSM

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