Environmental justice group BAN Toxics on Thursday, Sept. 8, has encouraged the public and devotees to commit to a clean and green celebration of the feast of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia in Naga City.
Reynaldo San Juan Jr., executive director of the BAN Toxics, said protection of the environment should be “our response” to the theme of the feast, which was adopted to this year’s theme of the Season of Creation – “Listen to the Voice of Creation.”
“The reduction of waste, especially single-use plastics, is imperative in the fight against pollution and climate change. The switch to reusable alternatives is one of the steps we can take to protect our environment,” he said.
The group said Naga City collects at least 250 tons of waste each day during the week-long celebration every year compared to the usual 95 tons daily trash yield.
The traslacion of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia is set on Friday, Sept. 9. It will be followed by a series of parades, exhibitions, and competitions, before ending the celebration with a fluvial procession on Sept. 17.
The group commended the city government of Naga and its council for passing a resolution aimed at “promoting environmental responsibility” during the festivities.
BAN Toxics also urged other government agencies and the general public to “use and promote reusable alternatives and reduce single-use plastics and plastic packaging not only during the festival, but all year round.”
Early this week, Archbishop Rolando Trio Tirona of Caceres called on the faithful to revisit the message of Pope Francis’ encyclical on environment protection and the theme of this year’s Season of Creation, in order to “commit ourselves to integrate this theme into our celebrations of the festivities in honor of El Divino Rostro and Our Lady of Peñafrancia.”
The prelate said the Catholic Church in Naga City is reaching out to the young people to lead the mission to protect the environment and “to be friends, protectors and servants of creation.”