In a statement released ahead of the Department of Health-organized “Firework Related Injury Summit” to be held tomorrow, February 8, at the Manila Grand Opera Hotel, the EcoWaste Coalition called for a switch to non-injurious, non-polluting and non-wasteful way of celebrating the New Year and other festive occasions.
The EcoWaste Coalition sought for a comprehensive ban similar to what is being enforced in Davao City since 2001 that has dramatically reduced firecracker-related injuries and deaths to zero.
“Some people were understandably cynical when Davao City introduced the firecracker ban. They thought it could not be done. But the sceptics have been proven wrong. The Davaoeños have shown it could be done if there is political will on the side of the local officials,” said Aileen Lucero, Iwas PapuToxic Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We believe that no public funds should be spent for community fireworks display. The public should not pay for expendable activities that also pose harm to health, the environment and the climate,” Lucero said.
1. Firecrackers and fireworks contribute to climate change, which the Lancet has described as “the greatest global health threat of the 21st century,” posing potentially irreversible threat to humans and the planet. The creation of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from non-essential uses such as the blasting of firecrackers and fireworks to ring in the New Year aggravate the unfolding climate crisis and should be decisively curbed.
2. Firecrackers and fireworks cause serious if not fatal injuries to users as well as non-users. From 2000 to 2011, the DOH recorded 10,107 firecracker-related injuries. Add to this the statistics from the latest celebration to welcome 2012 – “the deadliest ever” – with 4 fatalities and 1,004 injuries (970 of which were firecracker-related injuries).
3. Firecrackers and fireworks contain dangerous chemicals and produce toxic dusts and fumes, exacerbating the poor air quality and causing throat and chest congestion and other health problems, particularly for young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with asthma and chemical sensitivities. In fact, levels of total suspended particulates (TSPs) in Metro Manila rose to as high as 1,000 micrograms per normal cubic meter during the last revelry, way above the World Health Organization’s standard of clean air at 90 mcg/ncm.
The massive detonation of both legal and illegal pyrotechnics goes against the basic state policies of safeguarding human health and the ecosystems as enshrined in the Constitution, the EcoWaste Coalition said.