Monday, January 19, 2015

Article - 'Trashed' Luneta mars Pope Francis Mass

'Trashed' Luneta mars Pope Francis Mass

Plastic water bottles, food containers and even missalettes are found strewn around Rizal Park after Pope Francis' Mass

Pia Ranada
Published 1:13 PM, Jan 19, 2015
Updated 1:14 PM, Jan 19, 2015

MANILA, Philippines – Environmentalists mourned the unholy sight of a garbage-choked Rizal Park and its environs after Pope Francis' public Mass held in Quirino Grandstand on Sunday, January 18.

“The park, Manila’s green lung and the country’s premier park, was wrapped in trash incompatible with a holy celebration that left eco-volunteers and government workers busy cleaning up the mess,” said Aileen Lucero, national coordinator of green group EcoWaste Coalition on Monday, January 19.

The park had been occupied for more than a day by crowds of millions who had come to watch the Mass presided over by the Pope in Quirino Grandstand.

The amount of garbage, far more than what is usually spotted after Feast of the Black Nazarene processions, was ironic given the pontiff's reputation for being a "green" Pope. (READ: Pope Francis to Filipinos: Care for the environment)

In his homily for the same Mass, he even said, "[God] created the world as a beautiful garden and asked us to care for it. But through sin, man has disfigured that natural beauty."

Underscoring the irony of it all was a strange scene that confronted EcoWaste Coalition volunteers.

They found garbage piles under discarded tarpaulin emblazed with a quote from Pope Francis that says, "Let us be protectors of God’s creation and of one another."

Lucero said the "beautiful garden" that was Rizal Park was instead transformed into an "unsightly garden" full of people's waste.

It was not surprising given that most people stayed the entire day in the park and thus had to eat their meals there. Most of the garbage found were food wrappers like styrofoam containers, plastic glasses, plastic wrappers and carboard boxes.

But Lucero said participants should not have resorted to leaving their trash in the park. They could have found a trash can after the Mass or kept their trash in their bags until they arrived home.

Part of the tips issued by the group days before the Pope's visit was to bring reusable food containers that could be brought home and washed for future use.

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