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.
Tzu Chi volunteers placed containers in front of their recycling station in Loyola Memorial Park, so the donors will just simply put their recyclable materials in its designated container. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
While on the recycling station at Manila South Cemetery, a collection of different handicrafts made up of recyclable materials are displayed on the table. This is the volunteers’ way of showing how something that is considered as trash can turn into something useful and beautiful. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Arnel Chua, collects the PET bottles he saw on the cemetery, pools it all, and waits for the All Saints Day to come to give it to Tzu Chi.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
A Tzu Chi volunteer gratefully receives the recyclable materials that Chua donates. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Bong Flores gives the recyclable materials he segregates from trash whenever he is out to collect garbage to a Tzu Chi volunteer. According to him, this is his way of helping other people despite of his status in life. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
A passer-by at Manila South Cemetery, donates the PET bottles that he and his friends used. According to him, after hearing the speech of Tzu Chi volunteer, Teodulo Granada, he decided to give the PET bottles to Tzu Chi instead of throwing it. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Despite of the outpour of donations from the people, Tzu Chi volunteers still roam around the cemetery to collect recyclable materials and to give flyers to people in order to explain the advocacy of Tzu Chi. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Pouring rain does not stop the volunteers on collecting recyclable materials that they see on the cemetery, they want to collect as many as possible recyclables to help the environment and their fellowmen. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】