TRASH-FREE 'UNDAS'. EcoWaste Coalition members and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority personnel, some of whom are dressed as “Zombasuras” (cemetery litterbugs), call for an eco-friendly and waste-free observance of Undas at the Manila North Cemetery on Tuesday (Oct. 25, 2022). This is in anticipation of the massive influx of visitors in cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaria, which results in piles of trash being left in these areas during the observance of Undas. (PNA photo by Alfred Frias)

MANILA – The social arm of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has appealed to the people to ensure that the environment is protected by having a “garbage-free” commemoration of Undas (All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day).

Fr. Antonio Labiao Jr, executive secretary of NASSA/Caritas Philippines, said as good stewards of Mother Nature, the people should show appreciation and care for the environment while remembering their departed loved ones.

"It's our shared responsibility to ensure that our environment, which includes us all, is protected against practices that pollute and degrade it. Let's make our cemeteries trash-free," the Catholic priest added.

Labiao issued the statement in connection with the rally for the "Untrash Undas: Enforce B.T.S. (Bawal mag Tapon sa Sementeryo [No Littering in Cemeteries])" advocacy held by environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition at the Manila North Cemetery on Tuesday.

The rally encourages the public not to litter the cemeteries when visiting the graves of their deceased loved ones early next week.

The call is also related to the expected influx of people who will visit various cemeteries throughout the country, especially as the rules on the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) continue to be relaxed.

Based on the records of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority in 2019, a total of 14 trucks of garbage were collected from 27 cemeteries in Metro Manila during the commemoration of the annual event. (PNA)