An official of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has called on cemetery operators to arrange for more frequent garbage collection during “Undas” — All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day — when Filipinos visit the graves of their departed loved ones.
“We don’t want cemeteries to become dumping sites,” Nolan Francisco, chief of EMB’s Solid Waste Management Division, said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Monday.
More frequent trash pick-ups would prevent the accumulation of wastes in cemeteries, Francisco said, noting that practicing cleanliness in cemeteries is a way of showing respect for the dead.
“People must refrain from littering by disposing of their waste in appropriate trash bins within the cemeteries,” he said.
Earlier, the EMB had recommended that cemeteries provide trash bins for biodegradable, recyclable, residual, and special wastes.
Biodegradable waste, such as food and garden discards, as well as animal and human waste, can be composted.
The EMB said recyclable wastes like newspaper, corrugated cardboard, office paper, and tin cans can be made into new products.
For disposal in proper facilities are residual wastes, which are neither compostable nor recyclable – for instance, disposable diapers, worn-out rugs, and hazardous household waste like paint, thinners, and radios.
Francisco also urged cemetery administrators to provide more trash bins in strategic locations in the graveyards, in anticipation of the influx of crowds in cemeteries.
Last year, he said, the volume of trash in cemeteries was about 20 percent higher than in the previous year’s “Undas” season.
All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2) this year are special non-working days nationwide, giving people the opportunity to visit their departed loved ones’ graves.
To help reduce the volume of trash for disposal, Francisco said people who will visit cemeteries can pack their food and drinks in containers they can bring home and reuse.
They can even offer flowers and plants without extra wrappings, he added.
“It all boils down to discipline,” he said, noting that more frequent collection would prevent trash from accumulating. (Catherine Teves, PNA)