Most people take the environment for granted with ill habits such as throwing their trash aimlessly. They tend to forget that such actions are killing the Earth, the only home they have.
One of Tzu Chi Foundation’s missions, environmental protection, has come a long way through its recycling activities. Since a lot of people are in vacation to visit cemeteries this All Saints Day, Tzu Chi volunteers seize the chance to show and teach them how recycling can save, preserve, and respect Mother Earth.
From October 31 until November 1, 30 volunteers from Marikina City and neighboring San Mateo, Rizal worked together to collect plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and cartons in Paraiso Memorial Park in Quezon City.
Despite heavy rains and cold weather, volunteers pursue their mission of gathering as many recyclables as they can. They know it’s for a good cause, as the proceeds will go to the foundation’s many beneficiaries.
Roaming the cemetery grounds, Tzu Chi volunteers distribute pamphlets and newsletters, as well as wisdom on recycling. If not get rid of waste entirely, recycling will reduce it.
Cheryl Pajes, 45, a food vendor inside the cemetery, feels happy when she sees the volunteers collect recyclables.
“I am happy to see them yesterday. Even though some of them are already old, they still collect recyclable materials despite the unstable weather,” says Pajes.
For her, keeping the cemetery and the environment clean is everyone’s duty. It is not only the planet that it preserves but also the memories of the departed.
The volunteers’ determination helped them accumulated a total of 476 kilos of recyclables.
Meanwhile at Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City, volunteers endure the inconveniences brought by muddy paths. Regardless, volunteers were able to gather a total of 824 kilos of recyclables.
Rosmel Dueñas, a visitor in the cemetery, immediately approached the volunteers upon seeing them collect recyclables. Dueñas personally gathered recyclables around his relatives’ tomb to donate to the volunteers. He and his family were among those Tzu Chi helped after Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) hit Marikina in 2009.
“I am just giving back the help that Tzu Chi Foundation gave to Barangay Sto. Niño in Marikina City when Typhoon Ondoy struck. Instead of selling the recyclables, we just donate it to them,” shares Dueñas.
All collected recyclables will be brought to Tzu Chi’s recycling center at the Great Love Campus for further processing.
“The main purpose of this activity is that we believe that our love for Mother Earth is the way to save the things,” says Tzu Chi volunteer Carmern Rejano, assigned to Loyola Memorial Park.
Aside from gathering recyclables for the benefit of those in need, Tzu Chi volunteers were able to make the visitors realize how proper waste disposal could help save the Earth.
Tzu Chi volunteers from Barangay Tumana, Marikina City and San Mateo, Rizal set up their tent at Paraiso Memorial Park in Quezon City.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
A Tzu Chi volunteer puts the recyclables she has collected into the Tzu Chi recycling bike.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Tzu Chi volunteers sort the recyclables they have collected from an afternoon of roaming Paraiso Memorial Park. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
A volunteer leads the distribution of snacks to her fellow volunteers.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Tzu Chi volunteer Carmen Rejano shares with Rosmel Dueñas, a park visitor, how recycling used plastic bottles instead of throwing it anywhere can reduce the chance of flooding during rainy season.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Violita Lagoo collects the recyclables from a plastic bag. She intends to donate the recyclables to Tzu Chi.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】