Environmental group slams Quiapo Church's use of plastic 'banderitas'

Published June 15, 2021, 10:27 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

Quiapo Church’s use of “banderitas” made out of single-use plastic has rubbed an environmental group the wrong way.

These trinkets made out of thin-film plastic have made the EcoWaste Coalition unhappy. (Photo from EcoWaste Coalition)

EcoWaste Coalition has called out the Quiapo Church for decorating the plaza where the bronze statue of San Juan Bautista stands with plastic “labo” buntings ahead of the feast day of St. John the Baptist on June 24.

Thin-film plastic bags or “labo” is among the most ubiquitous plastic garbage found on land as well as in rivers and oceans, the group said in a statement Tuesday, June 15. It is commonly used as packaging for food.

“The use of throw-away fiesta buntings is not in tune with the call for ecological conversion made by the Catholic bishops [amid the] climate emergency facing our nation and planet Earth,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

The group recalled the pastoral statement released in 2019 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) appealing for “continuing ecological conversion” and for “ecological actions”, including “eliminating single-use plastics” to help address the “ecological crisis”.

“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,” Benosa said.

“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,” the group said.

“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, especially in times of difficulties such as during the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic,” it added.