To keep the cemetery grounds clean, the city government of Manila will be fielding street sweepers and other cleanup personnel at the Manila North and South cemeteries from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada said on Saturday.
This is on top of the separate contingents of cleaning crews that, since about three weeks ago, have been clearing the sidewalks and removing obstructions in the streets leading to the two biggest public cemeteries in Manila, according to Estrada.
“From Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, we will station street sweepers inside the North and South cemeteries just to ensure that trash will not pile up,” Estrada announced following the recommendation of Task Force Manila Cleanup chief Che Borromeo.
The cleanup, Estrada said, will be carried out in coordination with the cleanup personnel of the North and South cemeteries as well as those from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
Borromeo said dump trucks will also be stationed outside the two cemeteries to haul garbage collected by the sweepers every day to prevent the accumulation of trash inside the cemeteries.
Since the start of the month, he said they have collected dozens of truckloads of garbage from the two cemeteries alone, mostly consisting of tree branches and twigs and empty cans and bottles of paint from people doing early cleaning of their loved ones’ tombs.
“We haul it off every day. We don’t let the garbage cans fill up,” Borromeo said.
The task force chief said they expect to collect more trash after Nov. 1 when the bulk of cemetery visitors have gone home, leaving mounds of garbage everywhere.
“If every single one of the two million people who come to the North and South cemeteries leaves behind 100 grams of trash, imagine the amount of garbage we have to collect,” Borromeo said.
Borromeo appealed to the public to refrain from littering the cemetery grounds and if possible, bring trash bins of their own. “When you go to the cemetery to pay your respects, please also respect the environment.”
“We have enough waste bins inside the cemeteries so please properly dispose your garbage,” he said.
In November 3 last year, MMDA said it had collected 168 truckloads of garbage from 23 cemeteries in Metro Manila. Most of the garbage left behind by visitors were mostly styrofoam boxes, plastic bags and paper, food containers, tetra packs, and plastic water bottles.
The city’s Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) announced it has completed the repairs of toilets, street lights, power lines, and other facilities at both North and South cemeteries ahead of the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day observance.
Engr. Joseph Bulanon said all the toilets inside the cemeteries have also been repainted while busted streetlights and malfunctioning lamp posts have been replaced or repaired. Dangling power lines that might endanger cemetery visitors were also properly secured.
“We also did some asphalt overlays, cleaned up the drainage, and trimmed tree branches for the safety and convenience of the public,” Bulanon said.