Environmental group Ecowaste Coalition on Friday urged the people, especially the youth, to welcome the New Year 2016 using safe and non-toxic materials and without the dangerous and polluting firecrackers.
“Firecrackers are not your regular toys that you can safely play with. In fact, firecracker accidents are common resulting to physical injuries and even deaths. From 2000 to 2014, the Department of Health had recorded over 10,000 cases of firecracker-related injuries from damaged eyesight to severed fingers, as well as some fatalities,” said Ecowaste coordinator Aileen Lucero.
The group said firecrackers and fireworks are also toxic and made combining different chemicals such as potassium nitrate, sulphur, carbon, barium, copper and lead to produce heat and color.
“The firecracker blast yields toxic fumes, including carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is bad for human health and the climate,” Lucero said.
“Aside from the toxic smoke and smog, firecracker explosion generates lots of hazardous wastes that cannot be reused nor recycled, adding to the mountains of post-New Year revelry trash that have to be disposed of,” she added.
Instead of spending for dangerous, toxic and dirty firecrackers, the group insisted that hard-earned money should be wisely spent to buy food for the Noche Buena and other necessities, as well as for helping poor and needy people in our midst.
The group launched its “Iwas-Paputoxic” campaign at the Qurino Elementary School in Quezon City on Friday with about 1,500 students and teachers in attendance.
The annual event, now on its 9th year, complements the government’s “Iwas-Paputok” program, and is undertaken to raise public awareness on the risks and hazards posed by firecrackers to life, limb and property, as well as to the ecosystems.
During the event, beauty queen Angelia Ong joined the group and DoH officials led by Dr. Enrique Tayag and representatives from the National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection in urging the students to shun firecrackers for their safety and well-being.
In response, the students recited a pledge “to celebrate Christmas and welcome the New Year in a clean and safe manner that will not cause injury to ourselves, our fellow beings and to Mother Earth.”
To demonstrate a safe and non-toxic way of ushering in 2016, the students held a countdown to the New Year that was capped with a lively noise barrage. Using alternative noisemakers fashioned out of household items and recyclable junks, the students created a mixture of sounds to everyone’s delight.
Among the substitute noisemakers that the children played were the used can maracas mounted on a wooden handle; tambourine consisting of bottle caps; shakers made out of plastic bottles; pots and pot lids; and torotot (trumpet) crafted from recycled materials.
Earlier, the Metro Manila Development Authority reminded community leaders of a policy for them to designate common fireworks display zones in their localities to prevent or lessen fireworks-related injuries this holiday.
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