Goa’s Roman Catholic Church has advised citizens not to use plastic and other toxic items to decorate graves to beat pollution and to safeguard environment.
The Church’s social welfare wing Caritas, in a letter to all parish priests and chaplains in the state, said these items should be shunned especially on the occasion of All Souls Day (November 2), a day when Catholics visit their ancestors’ graves.
“We are on the eve of season of several celebrations in our parishes. Immediately, we will have the All Souls day where we will decorate the graves where bundles of plastics, thermocol, foam and silver foil will be used. All of which is non-degradable and toxic,” the letter by Caritas said.
“Hence let us strongly urge our parishioners to avoid the use of the toxic material to decorate the graves.”
The request by Caritas follows an imploration by Pope Francis who has asked Catholics across the world to introduce lifestyle changes in order to curb environmental degradation and minimise waste.
“Besides, there are also other occasions where unnecessary use of toxic materials are utilised like during the visitation of the statue of Our Lady to the families, refreshments served at meetings and seminars,” the communique stated.
“We can really make a significant difference if we seriously avoid the use of toxic materials for our celebrations.”
The communique has also asked all parish priests in the state to create awareness about pollution, wastage and use of toxic substances through the month of November during mass on Sundays.
Nearly a third of Goa’s population of 1.5 million are Catholic.