The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental
network, and the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP), an association
of pulmonologists, today jointly warned the public about the health hazards
posed by firecrackers and fireworks.
Together with Buklod Tao, a community organization, the EcoWaste Coalition and
the PCCP held a “Gas Mask Action” at Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City to
illustrate the toxicity of gaseous emissions resulting from the massive
explosion of pyrotechnic devices to hail the New
Donning gas masks, the clean air advocates warned that the environmental
pollution from the use of firecrackers and fireworks pose serious health risks,
including respiratory problems such as bronchial asthma, allergic or chronic
bronchitis, laryngitis, rhinitis and sinusitis, especially for babies and
children and other vulnerable population groups.
“The levels of pollutants in the atmosphere rise to unparalleled levels
throughout post-New Year revelries due to the widespread blasting of
firecrackers and fireworks shows,” said pulmonologist Dr. Maricar Limpin,
former President of PCCP.
“The minute particles, metal oxides, greenhouse gases and other contaminants
from the warlike festivities aggravate the air quality, putting the health of
the people, especially babies and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and
those afflicted with chronic asthma, at risk,” she explained.
Community leader Noli Abinales observed that “thick smoke engulfs our neighborhoods
as if it’s totally okay for New Year revellers to dirty the air, let people
choke on firecracker fumes and get away with it.”
For her part, Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition,
pointed out that “the all-out pollution from the New Year revelry is a brazen
violation of our right to breathe clean air, and goes against local and global
efforts to curb climate pollution.”
R.A. 8749, or the Clean Air Act, recognizes and guarantees the enjoyment of the
people’s right to breathe clean air, she pointed out.
Lucero also called attention to the toxic residual waste from the use of
pyrotechnic devices that are either dumped or burned in violation of R.A. 9003,
the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which prohibits littering, open
dumping and open burning of discards.
In lieu of firecrackers and fireworks, the groups suggested the use of alternative
noise makers that emit no toxic fumes such as torotot, pot and pan covers,
empty cans, musical instruments and the like.
They further suggested that the money intended for pyrotechnic devices be given
instead to ongoing humanitarian aid and rehabilitation efforts in the
Yolanda-stricken areas in the Visayas.