12 Ways to Promote a Low-Carbon, Plastic-Free Holy Week

Plastic-Free Holy Week
EcoWaste Coalition gives environmental tips for this Holy Week. EcoWaste Coalition photo.

Here are 12 ways to promote and practice a low-carbon and plastic-free Holy Week, according to the EcoWaste Coalition, an advocate for a zero waste and toxics-free society.

The environmental group asked the faithful to mark the Holy Week with less carbon dioxide and less plastic waste in keeping with good stewardship of the Earth.

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Ecological conversion and solidarity, the group pointed out, are urgently needed amid the triple planetary emergencies involving climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss, which threaten human health and livelihoods and the ecosystems upon which we depend on.

“As we remember and reflect on Christ’s sufferings, we appeal to the faithful to keep the Holy Week as low-carbon and plastic-free as much as possible,” said Ochie Tolentino of EcoWaste Coalition.

“We invite the faithful to keep the health and wellness of Mother Earth in mind as faith-inspired acts of prayer, atonement, and charity are carried out in our homes, churches, and communities,” the Zero Waste Campaigner said.

“Together, let us use the holy days, as well as the long weekend, to turn away from practices that poison and destroy the environment and the climate with pollutants such as vehicular emissions and plastic chemicals and wastes,” she added.

Towards a low carbon, plastic-free Holy Week, the EcoWaste Coalition invited the faithful to heed the following eco-measures:

  1. Turn your back on practices that pollute the environment such as the careless use and disposal of single-use plastics and littering in pilgrimage sites during Passion Week and after.
  2. Minimize the use of plastic tarpaulins, which may contain toxic cadmium and lead, for announcing Holy Week activities. Politicians should do away with “Happy Easter” plastic banners.
  3. Donate pre-loved clothes and other useful items to Caritas Manila’s Segunda Mana program and other donations-in-kind projects of other charitable organizations.
  4. Quiet down and “staycation” at home for a meaningful bonding time with your loved ones. For those going out of town, remember: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.”
  5. Keep the makeshift altar for the Pabasa ng Pasyon austere by using recycled or repurposed materials. If painting is desired, pick lead-safe paints.
  6. Share food and water for the penitential Caridad in reusable instead of disposable containers. Go meatless!
  7. Observe the litter-free and smoke-free conduct of the Senakulo.
  8. Take public utility vehicles, bike, or walk for the Visita Iglesia on Maundy Thursday. Prioritize churches nearest to you to cut fuel use and car emissions.
  9. Never litter on the Alay-Lakad trail to the churches of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Antipolo City), Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag (Pangasinan), and other popular shrines. Stay hydrated as you walk in the sun by bringing water in a reusable container.
  10. Add an environmental dimension to your neighborhood’s Via Crucis on Good Friday by picking up litter along the route.
  11. Light the Carozza of the Santo Entierro with energy-efficient and mercury-free LED lamps and adorn it with locally-sourced flowers and plants.
  12. Hail the Risen Christ during the Salubong on Easter Sunday without polluting firecrackers and fireworks, and balloons, too. And keep the Easter fun activities for kids simple and, very importantly, not wasteful.

“As stewards or caretakers of God’s creation, it is our shared responsibility to demonstrate respect for the environment, especially when performing faith-based activities,” the EcoWaste Coalition reminded.

EcoWaste Coalition has been actively campaigning for zero-waste policies in religious events such as the Holy Week, the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, and the Feast of the Santo Nino in Tondo.

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