Environment group calls for total ban of fireworks, firecrackers

By: Cristina Eloisa Baclig - Inquirer.net | December 09,2020 - 06:59 AM

MANILA, Philippines — EcoWaste Coalition on Tuesday called on local government units (LGUs) to ban firecrackers, fireworks, and other pyrotechnic devices this holiday season amid pandemic.

In a statement, the group’s Chemical Safety Campaigner Thony Dizon urged officials to impose ordinances that will prohibit firecrackers and fireworks for the New Year’s Eve’s festivities.

“With the safety of their constituents and the environment in mind, we urge our city and municipal officials to quickly enact ordinances that will prohibit the use of firecrackers, fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices in celebrating the New Year,” said Dizon.

“The adoption and implementation of such ordinances, we believe, will prevent a repeat of the bloody and dirty tradition of heralding the New Year with explosives and noxious fumes,” he added.

EcoWaste Coalition also warned officials that firecracker and fireworks displays may cause a possible violation of physical distancing.

“[T]he ban on firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices that provide a few minutes of merriment with toxic consequences for humans, animals and the environment will discourage people from social crowding and avoid COVID-19 from further spreading,” Dizon noted.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he is considering to impose a total ban on the use of fireworks in 2021 — a policy which is already adopted in Davao City.

“I was toying with the idea of making it just like Davao. Let’s just do it this way: At least, you still have one year. Maybe next December I will ban fireworks,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino, in his weekly address.

The group reiterated their call for a total ban on firecrackers and fireworks, especially piccolo and trompito luminoso de fuego. According to them, both pyrotechnic devices were being illegally sold in some retail stores for P45 per box of 20 pieces and P10 per box of 10 pieces.

“These cheap but very dangerous scratch-banger firecrackers have started resurfacing in some sari-sari stores in Metro Manila,” said Dizon.

The Department of Health (DOH) in January reported a decrease in the number of firecracker and firework-related injuries. Among the 164 recorded cases nationwide, 13 were caused by piccolo.

“It is high time for the nation to put a stop to the gory headlines of children burning their skins, losing their fingers and having parts of their bodies amputated due to firecracker injuries,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.

To ensure a safe and COVID-free New Year, the group encouraged the public to observe the following reminders:

1.  Only use quality-assured Christmas lights with valid ICC stickers.
2.  Go for alternative noisemakers in lieu of firecrackers and fireworks.
3.  Remind children not to pick up dud firecrackers and sparklers.
4.  Don’t fire guns.
5.  Shun customized PVC boga guns or cannons.
6.  Don’t release balloons and sky lanterns.
7.  Never burn used tires.
8.  Don’t burn trash.

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TAGS: Ecowaste Coalition, Holiday Season, pandemic

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