For seven years, Tzu Chi Foundation has been conducting its recycling activities at different cemeteries in Metro Manila, Rizal, and Leyte come All Saints Day. More than a thousand Tzu Chi volunteers aim to collect recyclable materials such as used plastic bottles, cans, and cartons left by visitors as part of its mission to protect the Earth.
This year, volunteers once again conduct its recycling activity at Holy Cross Memorial Park in Novaliches, Quezon City. According to the park manager Engr. Jo Seuzo Alo, Tzu Chi Foundation is the only non-government organization (NGO) that he allowed to do recycling in the 50-hectare cemetery because he knows that the proceeds from recyclables would be for a good cause.
“The funds go to other people. It’s a non-profit organization that doesn’t only think of itself but thinks of the welfare of our fellowmen who are in need like tuition fee,” says Alo.
Caretakers collect up to ten truckloads of garbage from the cemetery every year. Visitors often complain about the pile of garbage and foul odor in their loved ones’ graveyard. As soon as Tzu Chi volunteers commenced its recycling activity, the problem of the big volume of garbage has been resolved.
A total of 33 Tzu Chi volunteers and scholars from Barangay Tumana, Marikina City participate in the activity. Three weeks prior, they organized themselves into collection groups and made colorful posters and handicrafts to urge people to protect the environment through recycling.
Despite the non-stop rain, the volunteers roam around and collect recyclables unhindered. Some of them even spent the night to continue recycling. Between October 31 and November 1, volunteers have gathered a total of 1,455 kilos of recyclables.
Meanwhile, 25 volunteers from Barangays Pasong Tamo and Old Balara, Quezon City facilitate the recycling activity at Himlayang Pilipino in Pantranco, Quezon City. They collected a total of 879 kilos of recyclables.
“Here, street children always get the recyclables but they cause some problems in terms of being organized. But Tzu Chi Foundation came and showed us their profile and I saw that they could help us segregate recyclable materials and lessen the waste in this park,” says park manager Engr. Michael Abiog.
Abiog feels happy that, aside from making the park clean and garbage free, they can also show their support for Tzu Chi’s humanitarian works by allowing the volunteers to collect recyclables. From seven truckloads of garbage, Tzu Chi’s involvement reduced the waste collected to four.
Tzu Chi volunteer Emilita Valencia, 74 years old from Pasong Tamo shared how happy and fulfilled she is for the experience of recycling and contributing her time and effort for the foundation’s mission. She is the oldest volunteer among the group at Himlayang Pilipino cemetery.
“I am really feeling happy. That’s why I wish to have a longer life so that I could still join them and this activity made me realize that I can still help people despite of my age,” says Valencia.
Tzu Chi volunteers from Tumana, Marikina City show the posters and banners they used to raise awareness about how recycling can save the Earth. The educational materials are made by the volunteers.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Tzu Chi volunteers help each other set up the tent that will serve as their station throughout their recycling activity in the cemetery. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
After three weeks of preparation, Tzu Chi volunteers excitedly put on display their home-made art crafts, showing the things that can be reused and recycled, at their station. Through this, the volunteers hope to get the public’s attention and raise awareness about the situation of our environment and the urgent need to do something about it.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
The group of Tzu Chi volunteers stationed at the Manila Memorial Park Holy Cross in Novaliches, Quezon City is led by Daisy Ocampo as they begin their roam. They use a pedicab to transport the recyclable materials they have collected during their rounds. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Tzu Chi volunteer hands a pamphlet to a park visitor at Himlayang Pilipino in Quezon City. The volunteer also shares with the park visitor the importance of keeping the environment garbage-free. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
After hours of collecting recyclables, Tzu Chi volunteers help each other sort the recyclables that they have collected.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Tzu Chi volunteers from Pasong Tamo in Quezon City take the collected recyclables to their station.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】