MANILA — The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) collected a total of 23 trucks of garbage, or about 138 tons, left behind by devotees who took part in five-day apostolic and state visit of Pope Francis.
In a interview, Francis Martinez, head of the MMDA’s Metro Parkway Clearing Group, said that on Sunday event, they collected 10 truckloads of trash at the Rizal Park in Manila alone where the pontiff celebrated Holy Mass.
He said that 600 street sweepers were deployed during the five-day Papal visit to maintain the cleanliness of the areas where Pope Francis held various events.
According to Martinez, the clearing operation was swift by the MMDA personnel as it was efficient as they adopted the strategy they used during the procession of the Black Nazarene last Jan. 9.
“We begin clearing as soon as the events are finished. The dump truck is also nearby,” he said.
Martinez said that most of the collected waste materials collected were plastic bottles, raincoats, crumpled plastic bag and some spoiled food.
He also said that they dumped the garbage in Pier 18 in Manila with the coordination of the city government.
Martinez said they also used a fire truck to clean and remove the stench at the roads.
Based on the estimate of MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, more or less 6 million devotees flocked at the Rizal Park to hear mass and at the route of the papal convoy just to have a glimpse of the 78-year old leader of the Catholic Church.
On Monday morning, Pope Francis walked through the tarmac of Villamor Air Base, Pasay City as he officially concluded his five-day apostolic visit to the Philippines. Pope Francis boarded his plane at 9:49 a.m. and waved to the crowd one last time. Upon boarding, the Pontiff went to the cockpit area and chatted briefly with the pilots.
The front entrance of the Airbus 340 was closed at 9:52 a.m. The aircraft started taxing at 10:07 a.m. and was airborne at 10:13 a.m.