Cleanliness next to godliness? Pictures of tourist spots and pilgrimage sites suggest otherwise

April 3, 2018 - 10:38 AM
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Photo released by environmental group EcoWaste Coalition on March 30, 2018 shows trash left outside the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in San Jose del Monte City.

MANILA, Philippines — Siargao recently gained waves as a popular tourist spot but in Holy Week, some of its areas became littered with trash.

Kapamilya host and actress Anne Curtis-Smith shared pictures on her Twitter that were originally taken from Siargao Environmental Awareness Movement’s Instagram account. The image featured overfilled garbage containers.

Anne lamented the scene and called for establishments to use greener materials and the public to be more conscious of what they leave behind.

The situation was not just limited to Siargao, however. Other people and organizations have also opened up about the pollution in different spots during Holy Week.

Not just in Siargao

A Twitter user spotted a resort in Batangas also filled with different kinds of trash after people visited it. The photos were originally taken by Shane B. Base.

Online magazine and Batangas-based community blog Barako PH shared more of its pictures on their page.

Non-profit government organization EcoWaste Coalition shared pictures taken in Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto and Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Bulacan and Rizal, respectively.

A Facebook page also shared pictures that were taken from Malasag, Cagayan de Oro after the tradition of Panaad.

Why everyone’s doing it

Professor Emeritus Robert Cialdini (Psychology and Marketing) of Arizona State University believed that people have the tendency to imitate what everyone else is doing.

In this case, it is the act of throwing trash carelessly and littering in various places.

In a quote from The Atlantic, he said, “One of the things that’s fundamental to human nature is that we imitate the actions of those around us.”

“It’s the idea that look, no one is littering here, so it must not be a legitimate thing to do. We take our cues about what to do in a particular setting by what people are doing there already,” Cialdini said.

Photo from the Kagay-an Festival Facebook page shows a pilgrimage site at Malasag, Cagayan de Oro City littered during Holy Week.

Cialdini, who has studied acts of littering and litter prevention, said people would most likely litter if they already perceive the place as dirty.

He said, “If you see a [sic] environment that is highly littered, you litter. If there is not [sic] litter, you are significantly less likely to litter.”

Siargao, as well as the other places spotted with garbage all over, was not necessarily defiled with litter before Holy Week.