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Shrines mostly clean during Holy Week, but littering concerns remain — group

MANILA, Philippines — Many religious shrines across the Philippines remained clean during Holy Week, thanks to the efforts of both clergy and laity, an environmental group said on Sunday. 

EcoWaste Coalition lauded the faithful for maintaining cleanliness at many shrines and churches despite the throngs of Holy Week visitors. 

“It’s litter-free or darn close in most cases, and it’s a joy to see such places of prayer and worship clean,” said Ochie Tolentino, zero waste campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition. 

“On the other hand, we are saddened by the persistent littering observed in some pilgrimage sites as if such an inconsiderate and disrespectful act has now become a tradition in itself,” she added. 

According to the group, the Caloocan Diocesan Shrine of the Our Lady of Grace, the Cubao Diocesan Shrines of the Sacred Heart, St. Joseph, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and the Manila Archdiocesan Shrines of the Blessed Sacrament, Espiritu Santo, Sacred Heart, San Jose de Trozo, Our Lady of the Abandoned, Our Lady of Guidance, and Our Lady of Peñafrancia were generally litter-free on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. 

The Imus Diocesan Shrines of the Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Pillar, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, and Our Lady of Candelaria also remained litter-free.

Similarly, the Minor Basilica of the Holy Child in Cebu City, National Shrine of the Our Lady of La Salette in Cavite, Our lady of Remedios Parish in Manila City, Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Makati City, Most Holy Rosary Parish and San Jose Manggagawa Parish in Rizal, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Tagaytay City, and Parish of the Holy Sacrifice in Quezon City were “generally clean.”

However, EcoWaste Coalition expressed disappointment at the littering observed in the Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Jesus Nazareno in Manila City and the Bahay ng Mahal na Señor ng Bangkulasi in Navotas City. Streets in Quiapo, in particular, were littered with trash following the procession of the revered image of the Black Nazarene.

The group added that those who participated in “Alay Lakad” pilgrimage left a trail of garbage inside and on the streets leading to the Antipolo Cathedral. 

Littering was