EcoWaste Coalition Holds “Iwas Paputoxic” Community Outreach for Zero Injury, Zero Fire and Zero Waste


As the number of firecracker-related injuries continues
to rise, a waste and pollution watchdog organized a community action to
encourage citizens to greet the New Year in a non-dangerous and non-toxic
The EcoWaste Coalition today conducted an “Iwas
Paputoxic” outreach program and parade at Barangay Project 6 in Quezon City
that saw the group collaborating with local 
community officials and groups for a joyous and safe welcome to 2016.
“It will take an entire community to protect humans,
animals and the ecosystems from the outdated practice of igniting firecrackers
and its life-threatening consequences,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator,
EcoWaste Coalition, as she drew attention to the key role
of the barangay in preventing injuries, fires, hazardous fumes and wastes during
the festivities.
“We call on the over 42,000 barangays across the country
to intensify their campaign for a zero injury, zero fire and zero waste New
Year revelry,” she added.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Senen
Sarmiento through Memorandum Circular 2015-143 instructed concerned local
government, police and fire officials to perform their respective roles and
responsibilities to prevent injuries, deaths and damage
to properties due to firecrackers and fireworks.
The Barangay Chairpersons, in particular, were assigned
to “conduct massive advocacy and information dissemination” within their area
of jurisdiction, among other tasks.
After the short program led by Barangay Project 6
Chairperson Vicente Honorio Llamas V, incumbent Councilor Dorothy Delarmente and
former Councilor Beth Delarmente  of
Quezon City District 1, the participants went on parade to discourage residents
from igniting firecrackers and to encourage them to opt for kinder and safer
instruments of merry-making.
Representatives of the Quezon City offices of the Bureau
of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police and the Philippine National Red Cross
also took part in the event.
At the parade, participants held placards and streamers
bearing timely messages such as  “Make
the switch. Say no to firecrackers” and “Iwas Paputoxic: Buhay, Kalusugan,
Klima Sagipin.”  Some brandished
ghastly props to show the unpleasant effects of firecrackers on human health and
Among these fear-provoking props were big, “blood”
splattered mock firecrackers marked with the warnings “dangerous” and “toxic,”
and a “bloodied” imitation hand with severed fingers to underscore the threat
from banned piccolo firecrackers that the EcoWaste Coalition has dubbed as
“children’s enemy number one.”
On the other hand, some participants brought alternative
noisemakers made from kitchen and laundry utensils such as pots, basins and
pails, as well as torotot and improvised maracas, shakers  and tambourines from recycled materials.
To hammer home their message, the youth group “Batang
Sais” performed a short play informing residents about the danger posed by  “paputok” to life, limb, property and the
Aside from physical injuries, the EcoWaste Coalition
stressed that firecrackers and fireworks yield toxic fumes, including carbon dioxide,
a greenhouse gas that is bad for human health and the climate.
The blasting of firecrackers and fireworks further
generates hazardous wastes that cannot be reused nor recycled, adding to the
mountains of post-New Year revelry trash that have to be disposed of, the
EcoWaste Coalition lamented.