Hallelujah! Green group hails Quiapo Church for quick takedown of plastic 'banderitas'

Published June 17, 2021, 11:05 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

The EcoWaste Coalition gave Quiapo Church its due praise Thursday, June 17 for promptly taking down the plastic-made “banderitas” that adorned the side plaza of St. John the Baptist.

Before and after. (Photos from the EcoWaste Coalition)

It was only last Tuesday when the green group called out the church for the use of such trinkets, which it deemed as non-conforming to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) “urgent call for ecological conversion” in 2019.

This urgent call supposedly included “eliminating single-use plastics” to help address the “ecological crisis”. The banderitas–made using thin-film plastic, or plastic “labo”–were installed ahead of the feast day of St. John the Baptist on June 24.

“When we called the Quiapo Church’s attention to the wasteful use of plastic buntings, we were confident that they would listen and they did listen,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We laud Monsignor Ding Coronel, rector and parish priest, for listening to our plea against the senseless use of disposable plastic decors that only add to plastic pollution. This will certainly please Cardinal Jose Advincula, the soon-to-be installed head of the Archdiocese of Manila, whose episcopal motto is Audiam (I will listen),” he said.

“The concrete action by the Quiapo Church eliminating single-use plastic buntings will surely not go unnoticed, being the home of the Black Nazarene that is venerated by millions of devotees from near and afar,” Benosa pointed out. “We trust more churches will follow suit and go plastic-free. Hopefully, this will also rouse the faithful into moving away from single-use plastics and going for reusable options in our daily lives,” he added.

According to the group, single-use plastic fiesta buntings contribute nothing but residual garbage that end up polluting the oceans and harming marine life.

The use of plastic labo as buntings is very problematic, the group said, as this super thin plastic type is easily blown away to streets and bodies of water, including Pasig River.

A recently released study by the Netherlands-based Ocean Cleanup tagged Pasig River and 18 other rivers in the Philippines as among the top 50 rivers contributing to plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.