By Rogelio Adonican Osorio.
Nearly 2,000 volunteers from the World Youth Day Panama 2019 (WYD) met on Friday by the Costa del Este waterfront, in the capital, to collect garbage that accumulates in the Beach.
According to Pope Francis, following the promulgation in 2015 of the encyclical Laudato Si in which he invited to an "ecological conversion," the day started at 07:00 local time (12:00 GMT) with the arrival of volunteers to the area.
With the sunrise, among the hundreds of skyscrapers that frame the Panamanian capital, the songs and the praises, in different languages, put color and flavor to the cleaning job.
Precisely, Maria Andrea Quiros, in charge of the WYD event and volunteering in Panama, told ACAN-EFE that "it is an event for each of the volunteers to contribute with a grain of sand in Panama."
Until 11:00 local time (16:00 GMT), the boys stayed in the area of the sand of the Bay of Panama, happy for what they did, singing and dancing, to the point that even the scorching sun did not slow them down to carry out their mission: "collect and segment garbage in plastic, paper, glass, and organic," he explained.
"It is a great experience to clean the beach, it is a call to society to take care of our common home, so we have a future and the joy of living on this planet, which is our home," said Eduardo Beloa, who arrived from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Beloa made reference to the encyclical Laudato Si, written by Pope Francis, where it is urged that "we can all collaborate as God's instruments to care for creation, each from its culture, experience, initiatives, and also its capabilities".
"It is an encyclical that helps us understand the world's problems and invites us to take care (...) as Catholics, what God gave us, to have a better future for our next generations," he added.
The security in the area was always present, after eating a breakfast, where fruits and dairy predominated, the boys singing and praising God, decided to put hands to work.
The first was to anoint sunscreen, then repellent for mosquitoes, which are mangrove because these insects abound, and finally gloves to protect their hands, although none escaped the natural stench caused by the accumulation and decomposition of waste.
Once on the beach, at low tide and the first water line more than 1 kilometer away, everyone contributed and dedicated themselves to leaving the place as clean as possible.
"It is a good initiative that all young people should know and we must take care of our environment because it is ours," said Natali Reyes from Guayaquil, Ecuador.
This garbage collection event on the beach is part of the collateral activities of the WYD Panama 2019, which takes place throughout the country, which will take more color and heat next January 23 with the arrival of Pope Francis in the Central American country.
On average, the capital of Panama produces 2,000 tons of garbage a day, much of which arrives without any treatment to rivers and the bay of the city inhabited by just over a million people.
The thousands of pilgrims, from more than 150 countries, distributed throughout the national territory and in Costa Rica, carry out pastoral activities, cultural exchange, play, and religious tourism, as part of the previous event activities, accompanied by volunteers and cared by local safety and health authorities.