Watchdog appeals to the public not to bury Rizal Park in garbage
A waste and pollution watchdog sought the active cooperation of the public in keeping Rizal Park free of holiday trash, or what the group calls as “holitrash.”
The EcoWaste Coalition made the earnest appeal following a disclosure by the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) that visitors littered the historic park with truckloads of garbage on Christmas Day.
As confirmed to the EcoWaste Coalition by NPDC Spokesperson Kenneth Montegrande via text message, some 50 truckloads of mixed garbage, mostly discarded plastic bags and Styrofoam containers, were collected from the area.
According to the NPDC, some 750,000 to 800,000 people visited the park on December 24 and 25.
“We join the park authorities in reminding people who are planning to gather in Rizal Park for the New Year’s countdown to treat the place with highest respect such as by not littering,” said Commissioner Romy Hidalgo, NGO Representative to the National Solid Waste Management Commission.
“Things you bring to the park need to come back with you for proper recycling or disposal and should never be left behind,” he said.
“Let us not turn the sprawling green space of Rizal Park into a carpet of garbage such as discarded plastic bags, food containers and wrappers, and meal leftovers,” he added.
The EcoWaste Coalition also requested both the park management and the public to strictly observe Rizal Park’s “no smoking, no littering” policy, insisting that a place for rest and recreation should be entirely free of cigarette smoke and litter, a public nuisance and health hazard.
Those caught littering or smoking within the park premises are to pay a fine of P500 or render 8-hour community service for first offense, P1,000-5,000 fine or 16-hour community service for second offense, and P5,000-10,000 fine for third offense, the group reminded.
“The festive season is not an excuse to bury Rizal Park in holitrash. Littering by itself can never be justified,” Hidalgo, a member of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Steering Committee, emphasized.