Tzu Chi volunteers are overwhelmed by the support of the public about Tzu Chi Foundation’s proper waste segregation and recycling program in cemeteries every All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day. The volunteers also hope that the people will practice what they have learned from Tzu Chi in their everyday lives.
Tzu Chi volunteers have been roaming around Metro Manila cemeteries every October 30 up to November 3 for seven years now to collect recyclable materials that most people throw away. The volunteers also aim to teach the people the importance of environmental protection.
Inspired by the foundation’s advocacy, there are people who have learned to sort their recyclables and give it to Tzu Chi.
Arnel Chua, one of the caretakers of Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Paranaque, regularly donates the recyclables that he has collected months before November came.
“Last 2013, I saw the volunteers collecting plastic bottles. I approached them because I got curious. Then they told me that they are from a foundation, and they explained to me that these plastic bottles can be turned into blankets, which they donate to victims of calamities. I got amazed and since then, I pledged to donate the recyclable materials that I get here in the cemetery,” narrates Chua.
Chua also shares about Tzu Chi’s project to his family and encourages his children to collect recyclable materials for donation.
Supporting Tzu Chi’s recycling program at cemeteries is also Bong Flores’ way of helping other people.
Flores is a garbage collector at Loyola Memorial Park. Before, he used to sell the recyclable materials he sees whenever they collect garbage at the cemetery.
“I thought that the volunteers sell the bottles and the stuff they have collected here. But one time, I decided to go to their booth to find out what they are doing. That’s when I found out that they are not doing this for themselves, but for other people,” says Flores.
This noble act of the volunteers inspired Flores to also help his fellowmen who are suffering from poverty and from calamities.
“Aside from making blankets, the funds they get from selling the plastic bottles are used to help the aid beneficiaries of Tzu Chi. I know how it feels to have nothing. That is why I am grateful that Tzu Chi helps poor people to survive,” adds Flores.
For three years now, Flores has been segregating recyclable materials from trash whenever he is out to collect garbage. He believes that by doing this, he is already able to send love and compassion to the needy.
Tzu Chi volunteers, who have been working all day and all night for this recycling activity, are overwhelmed with the response of the people about the program.
Ema Motos, a Tzu Chi volunteer from San Mateo, Rizal, expresses her appreciation over the people’s efforts in helping them gather recyclable materials. She is in-charge of the recycling activity at the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Paranaque.
“Whenever we have donors who approach us to donate their recyclables, I feel so happy. No matter how few their donations are, what is important is that they exerted an effort to help us,” says Motos.
The volunteers then promised that they will never get tired of participating in Tzu Chi’s recycling program despite the rain or the heat of the sun.
“We are doing this for [Tzu Chi] foundation, for our Mother Earth, and for our health as well. I hope other people will also realize that. For those who are already enlightened about the importance of proper waste disposal and environmental protection, I do hope that you will continue to do it until we achieve a better environment,” says Teodulo Granada, a Tzu Chi volunteer who is in-charge of the program at the Manila South Cemetery.