Pope Francis had just told everyone about climate change and the need to protect the environment but perhaps did not yet sink well into their minds.
On Sunday, January 18, hours after the pontiff’s final Mass at the Quirino Grandstand attended by record breaking six million Filipinos, 138 tons of garbage have been collected from the route of the papal convoy to Luneta, according to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino said 600 street sweepers were deployed during the five-day papal visit to ensure the cleanliness of the metropolis.
Francis Martinez, head of the MMDA’s Metro Parkway Clearing Group, said the 138-ton garbage collected after the pontiff’s Mass in Luneta was equivalent to 23 truckloads of waste mostly composed of plastic food wrappers, empty mineral water bottles, and barbecue sticks.
Throughout the stretch of the Luneta Park, other scavengers could be seen minding their own business of collecting garbage.
Buti pa si Pope Francis mahal nila, pero ang mundo, ang bansa, ang kapaligiran hindi nila mahal, kung saan-saan lang tinatapon ang basura!
— Harold Abecia (@harold_abecia) January 16, 2015
"showing concern for the environment." daw sb n Pope Francis pero bkt sandamak-mak pdn ang naiwang basura sa daan? Hmm… #basuramopulotmo
— Joanna Alcachupas (@jo_anpol) January 18, 2015
Even near the famed Jose Rizal monument, piles of waste and bundles of garbage bags were waiting to be picked up by the city government’s garbage trucks, GMA News reported.
While many of the Catholic devotees left the papal Mass with their consciences a little cleaner, the same cannot be said for the grounds where an estimated 6 million people went to hear the pope who, earlier in the day, discussed about caring for the environment.