‘Let us not bury Rizal under a carpet of trash’

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If Dr. Jose Rizal were still alive today, he would perhaps write or lecture on how to show care and love to parks after one named after him was left littered with garbage last December 24 and 25.

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Visitors to Rizal Park (Luneta) in Manila on those two days were taken to task EcoWaste Coalition on Sunday for transforming the park into a big dump.

“Litterbugs carelessly left behind assorted trash as if Rizal Park was their dump,” Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition coordinator, said in a statement.

Lucero added, “Littering is disrespectful to all park visitors and to our national hero Jose Rizal, who was an environmental health champion of his time.”

According to the group’s coordinator, Rizal as a nature lover, particularly during his exile in Dapitan, carried out projects benefiting the people and the environment there. He gave town residents access to clean water, drained swamps to control breeding of malaria mosquitoes, lighted the streets using coconut oil lamps and beautified the town plaza.

“[Thus], the garbage left by the visitors [at the Rizal Park]would have angered Rizal, the environmentalist, possibly driving him to write ‘Waste Not’ as a sequel to [his novel]Noli Me Tangere [Touch Me Not],” Lucero said.

EcoWaste Coalition’s observation came after learning that the National Park Development Committee (NPDC), which manages Rizal Park, has removed some 10 truckloads of rubbish from the sprawling park, which drew about 500,000 visitors on December 24 and 25.

Lucero said, “The huge turnout of visitors was no match to the limited number of garbage sweepers and haulers who have to work extra hours to sweep the area clean.”

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