Toxics Watch Group Urges Cebu City Police Not to Smash Video Karera TVs

A policeman smashes illegal gambling machines in Cebu City. (Photo by Juan Carlo de Vela, Manila Bulletin)
An environmental watch group on toxic chemicals in products and wastes
cautioned the Cebu City police authorities against smashing confiscated video
karera TVs and other electronic gambling devices.
The safety warning from the Quezon City-based EcoWaste Coalition followed the
destruction yesterday, September 19, of at least 102 video karera TVs and
“moli-moli” slot machines using axes and sledgehammers at the Cebu City Police
Office (CCPO) with top regional and city police officials in attendance.
While lauding the local police for their campaign against illegal gambling
activities, the group expressed concern over the unsafe manner of manually
destroying the gaming machines, notably the TV sets, which contain large
quantities of hazardous substances.
“We understand that the confiscated TV sets are destroyed for good to prevent
their reuse for illegal gambling activities, but this should not be in a manner
that will scatter the lead and their other hazardous substances, which can
endanger human health and the environment,” stated Thony Dizon, Coordinator of
the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
Old analog TV units that are often used in illegal gambling business contain
huge amounts of hazardous substances such as lead, arsenic, barium, cadmium,
chromium, copper and mercury, and flame retardant chemicals.

Cadmium, lead and mercury belong to “top 10
chemicals of major public health concern,” according to the World Health

Citing information from the report “Poison PCs and Toxic TVs,” each computer or
television display contains an average of 4 to 8 pounds of lead (with the)
monitor glass contain(ing) about 20% lead by weight.”
“When these components are illegally disposed and crushed in landfills, the
lead is released into the environment, posing a hazardous legacy for current
and future generations…  These heavy
metals and other hazardous substances found in electronics can contaminate
groundwater and pose other environmental and public health risks,” the report said
Instead of breaking the illegal gambling devices with axes and sledgehammers, the
EcoWaste Coalition urged the police authorities to send the seized items to
registered hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facilities for
proper dismantling and recycling in controlled conditions.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management
Bureau has accredited several TSD facilities in the province of Cebu.
The EcoWaste Coalition warned that the burning, dumping and unsafe recycling of
electronic waste can pose serious health risks to workers, residents and others
due to the release of highly toxic pollutants, including dioxins and flame
retardant chemicals that can disperse over long distances and remain in the environment
for a long time.