CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, PHILIPPINES – ”Give the Earth a break from garbage this Holy Week.”

The Roman Catholic Church’s Caritas Philippines together with EcoWaste Coalition is appealing to its faithful and to those who observe the Holy Week to mark it with acts that could lessen pollution in the environment.

Both groups have encouraged on reducing single-use plastics usage as part of commemorating the Passion of Jesus Christ this week.

Caritas Philippines, the humanitarian, development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Church, is a member of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“As stewards of God’s Creation, let us celebrate the Paschal mystery of the Holy Week with a deeper reflection on what is happening to our environment and the climate and the need for us to speak and act as one to defend our Mother Earth from being further degraded and harmed,” said Fr. Antonio Labiao Jr., Caritas Philippines executive secretary and EcoWaste Coalition board member, in a statement released on March 29.

Labiao has appealed to the Catholic faithful to be responsible stewards of the Earth and not further contribute to its destruction.

Throw-away culture

“As we again commemorate the Holy Week at a time of a global public health crisis due to Covid-19, let us reflect on the insidious throw-away culture that is turning our lands and oceans into dumping grounds for chemical and waste pollutants. Let us listen to the cries of Mother Earth who is choking from tons upon tons of single-use plastic waste, and act with compassion and urgency to save her from this sorry plight,” he said.

Jove Benosa, EcoWaste Coalition zero waste campaigner, invited the faithful to explore and embrace practices that will help in reducing the generation of trash in our households and communities during the week-long enhanced community quarantine in the “NCR plus” areas.

“As we adopt stricter Covid-19 curbs during the Holy Week, let us pay closer attention to practical ways of reducing garbage and beating the plastic pollution crisis in our midst,” he said.


Caritas Philippines and the EcoWaste Coalition jointly urged the faithful to embrace a Zero Waste lifestyle and consider the following eco-tips for the Holy Week and beyond:
1. Abstain from or better still quit polluting habits such as the arbitrary use and disposal of single-use plastics, the mixing of discards, and the open dumping or burning of garbage.
2. Segregate waste materials at its source in order to reuse, repair, and recycle inorganic or non-biodegradable discards, and compost organic or biodegradable materials.
3. Turn food waste and other organics into compost, which can be used to fertilize the soil for home or neighborhood gardens.
4. Opt for reusable cloth or fabric face masks – especially for non-medical frontliners – instead of single-use non-biodegradable and non-recyclable face masks.
5. Safely dispose of soiled face masks, worn-out face shields and used gloves, tissues, wipes, and other potentially infectious waste.
6. Gather old and used items in good condition and donate them to charitable causes such as the “Segunda Mana,” the special donations-in-kind program of Caritas Manila. (

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