Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Ong Leads EcoWaste Coalition’s 9th “Iwas-Paputoxic” Drive vs Dangerous and Toxic Firecrackers

The back-to-back
typhoons Nona and Onyok failed to dampen the spirit of newly-crowned Miss Earth
2015 Angelia Ong, the EcoWaste Coalition and over 1,000 students in promoting a
safe and non-toxic way of heralding the New Year sans dangerous and polluting

In partnership with the school administration led by principal Gloria Huera,
the EcoWaste Coalition today conducted its  “Iwas-Paputoxic” drive at
the Qurino Elementary School (QES) in Quezon City with about 1,500 students and
teachers in attendance.

“All firecrackers are totally unfit for kids like you because they are
extremely dangerous,” Aileen Lucero, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition told
the students gathered at the school’s covered

“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 DOH had recorded over 10,000 cases of
firecracker-related injuries from damaged eyesight to severed fingers, as well
as some fatalities,” she said.

The annual event, now on its 9th year, complements the
“Iwas-Paputok” program of the Department of Health (DOH), 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 EcoWaste Coalition’s leaders
and DOH officials led by Dr. Enrique Tayag, Director, Bureau of Local Health
Systems Development and Dr. Mario Baquilod, Director, Bureau of Disease
Prevention and Control, as well as representatives of the Philippine National
Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection in urging the students to shun
firecrackers for their safety and well-being.

In response, QES students together recited a “Panata” (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, QES 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 with gusto 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. 

They also performed a dance number to the tune of “Fantastic Baby” by the K-Pop
band “Big Bang” as a way of ushering in the New Year without creating toxic
and fireworks are also toxic.  They are made by combining different
chemicals such as potassium nitrate, sulphur, carbon, barium, copper and lead,
to name a few, 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,” she 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 EcoWaste
Coalition 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 EcoWaste Coalition’s “Iwas-Paputoxic” event held every December before the
Christmas break was first conducted at Krus na Ligas Elementary School in
Quezon City in 2006 and every year thereafter.

The schools that had participated in past “Iwas-Paputoxic” events include the
Esteban Abada Elementary School (2007), Claret School (2008), Marcelo H. del
Pilar Elementary School (2009), Kamuning Elementary School (2010), Pinyahan
Elementary School (2011), Cubao Elementary School (2012), Commonwealth
Elementary School (2013) – all in Quezon City- and Fernando Ma. Guerrero School
in Manila (2014).