Pro-environment group EcoWaste Coalition called out the administrators of the Catholic church in Manila’s Quiapo district for using single-use plastic buntings as decorations.
“The use of throw-away fiesta buntings is not in tune with the call for ecological conversion made by the Catholic bishops in the midst of climate emergency facing our nation and planet Earth,” read the group’s statement.
The group expressed dismay over the use of plastic “labo” buntings to decorate the plaza outside the church ahead of the feast of St. John the Baptist on June 24.
Plastic “labo,” a thin plastic commonly used as packaging for food, is among the most ubiquitous plastic garbage found on land and in rivers and oceans, said the EcoWaste Coalition in its statement.
The group has been monitoring the use of these plastic materials as buntings during fiestas as part of its advocacy for a zero-waste and toxics-free society.
In its statement on the decorations outside Quiapo church, the group called to mind the pastoral statement released in 2019 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
The bishops’ statement appealed for “continuing ecological conversion” and for “ecological actions,” including “eliminating single-use plastics,” to help address the “ecological crisis.”
“We urge our Churches to design single-use plastic out of our faith-inspired celebrations,” said Jove Benosa, zero-waste campaigner of the group.
“It’s time to say good riddance to disposable plastic buntings that only turn into residual garbage, which is dumped or burned somewhere or gets spilled into the oceans,” he added.
“As wasteful plastic ‘banderitas’ play no role in the successful conduct of any religious activity, we appeal to our community and Church leaders to junk the outmoded practice of hanging fiesta buntings in the streets and plazas,” read the statement of EcoWaste Coalition.
“The true essence of our faith-stirred celebrations is not measured by the length and color of plastic buntings crisscrossing our streets, but on how we care for one another and for our Mother Earth,” it added.
The group expressed hope that more dioceses and parishes in the country will roll out policies and campaigns to reduce plastic consumption and disposal, especially of single-use plastics.