The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has issued a pastoral letter to call for the faithful to work in line with the advocacy for ecology.
Titled “An urgent call for ecological conversion, hope in the face of climate emergency,” the CBCP letter issued in mid-July listed a number of concrete actions to be undertaken in line with the spirit and principles of the landmark encyclical on ecology by Pope Francis entitled “Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home.”
One of the actions advocated by the letter signed by CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao is the elimination of single-use plastic – considered one of the worst pollutants.
Eco Waste Coalition lauded the move of the bishops to collectively engage the parishes in the campaign for the environment.
“We welcome the unequivocal statement issued by our bishops toward the elimination of single-use plastics. This should persuade the faithful into shifting to eco-friendly products and packaging materials that are reusable and recyclable,” stated Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner for EcoWaste Coalition, in a release sent to Good News Pilipinas.
“We hope all dioceses, parishes and Catholic-run institutions such as schools, hospitals, convents, seminaries and churches will institute or strengthen policies and regulations that will eliminate the consumption, use and disposal of single-use plastics, including plastic bags, plastic drinking straws, plastic plates and cutlery, and even plastic banderitas in their premises and activities,” Benosa said.
“We likewise hope the private sector, especially the big corporations, will heed the signs of the times and do their part to address the global plastic pollution crisis by seriously cutting packaging and plastic waste,” he added.
Eco Waste particularly noted the initiatives of Cavite Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista of the Diocese of Imus, Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, and Bishop Alberto Uy of Balanga for their recent pronouncements and actions to curb the use of single-use plastics in their respective dioceses.
CBCP News has reported that Bishop Santos and the clergy have adopted Balanga City’s directive restricting single-use plastics. “In our cathedral, we go green. We discourage the use of plastic flowers and decors, but natural plants and flowers. We also set aside tarpaulins,” he said.
Bishop Uy told priests and parishioners over Radio Veritas to “please avoid the use of Styros and plastics in any of our gatherings and activities.” He said “it is important for us to unite in taking care of our environment,” stressing “if every citizen will do his share in helping preserve the environment, we will all live in a clean and safe community that is pollution-free and plastic-free.”
Bishop Evangelista has announced the move by the Diocese of Imus to transform itself into a “zero waste church.” Included in the 10-point policies to be carried out in all parishes and institutions are the ban on plastic banderitas for church occasions and feasts, and the ban on disposable, single-use plates, glasses, spoons, forks and the like in church activities and fellowships.
The said “zero waste church” initiative has attracted jubilation and support from both the Cavite Green Coalition and the EcoWaste Coalition, which counts on the Diocese of Imus Ministry of Ecology among its members.
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