What Ever Happened to the Loaves and Fishes?

One of my favorite stories in the New Testament as a child was the story of the crowd of 5000 being fed by Jesus with the five loaves of bread and two fishes. There were 12 baskets of scraps left over. I chuckled when I read that this religious feast honoring Christ left 124 tons of trash:

Nazarene feast leaves 124 tons of trash

By Tina Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:26:00 01/10/2009

Filed Under: Environmental pollution, Festive Events (including Carnivals), Belief (Faith), Religion & Belief, Churches (organisations)
MANILA, Philippines — Some 124 tons of trash were left behind by devotees of the Black Nazarene in Manila streets, particularly in the Quiapo district, on Friday.

The garbage, consisting mostly of food and drink containers, was strewn throughout the procession route by crowds estimated by police at between two and three million, who took more than 12 hours to parade the black image of Christ from the Luneta to Quiapo Church.

What may have added to the garbage was the contribution of devotees who waited along a newly designated route only to have to scamper to other streets after a group of longtime followers forcibly swung the statue back onto its traditional route.

Ricardo Baltazar, head of Manila’s department of public services, said city workers needed 19 trucks to haul off the trash.

“Several truckloads of trash are usually collected after a procession, but we had the biggest volume this year — 19 truckloads containing some 124 tons of plastic bottles, Styrofoam containers, [barbecue] sticks, candy and food wrappers,” Baltazar told the Inquirer.

Many barefoot devotees who suffered foot injuries had stepped on sharp barbecue sticks thrown away carelessly, according to medical workers on the scene.

The environmental group Ecowaste Coalition had appealed to devotees to hold a “clean and green” celebration.

The coalition made its appeal after noting the mounds of garbage left behind by New Year revelers at Plaza Miranda, in front of Quiapo Church.

The coalition called the littering during the procession “a disgrace to our age-old devotion to Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno to whom many of us come begging for relief and freedom from all troubles, including life-threatening diseases that might have resulted from a polluted environment.”

It said the pollution was made worse by the large number of plastic bunting and “happy fiesta” banners hanging over the streets which ended up as trash.

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