Doctors, Environmentalists Appeal to Public to Nix Firecrackers and Fireworks

Medical doctors and
environmental advocates jointly urged the general public to hail the New Year
using alternative noisemakers in lieu of firecrackers and fireworks to minimize
health-damaging toxic emissions, particularly in urban centers like Metro Manila.
In support of the Department of Health-led “Iwas Paputok”
campaign, the Philippine Medical Association and the EcoWaste Coalition sought
the cooperation of the public to cut the unparalleled environmental pollution caused
by the blasting of firecrackers, as well as the burning of used tires and
garbage during and after the festivities.
“Aside from the well-reported firecracker-related
injuries, the pervasive use of firecrackers and fireworks contributes to air
pollution that reaches levels deemed hazardous to human health,” said Dr.
Ulysses Dorotheo, Chair of PMA’s Environment Health and Ecology Committee.
“The particulate matter (PM) and other air
pollutants from the detonation of firecrackers and fireworks will worsen our
air quality, posing health risks, especially among children, the elderly, and
individuals with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart
ailments,” he said.
Citing data from the monitoring conducted by the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the groups said that air
pollution soared to “dangerous levels” at the height of the New Year’s revelry
last year.
As per DENR monitoring, the levels of PM 1O and PM 2.5 in
some areas in Metro Manila rose to up to 2,000 micrograms per normal cubic
meter, way above the National Ambient Guideline Value of 60 mcg/ncm for PM 10,
and 35 mcg/ncm for PM 2.5.    Based on
the US Environmental Protection Agency’s
guideline, air quality is “unhealthy” at over 100 mcg/ncm
and is “hazardous” at 300 mcg/ncm.
“The extreme pollution from the unrestrained blasting of
firecrackers and fireworks goes against the Clean Air Act, which recognizes the
right of every citizen to breathe clean air,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste
“The burning or dumping of hazardous waste from spent
firecrackers and fireworks also violates the Ecological Solid Waste Management
Act, which bans open dumping and open burning to protect the public health and
the environment,” she pointed out.
Dorotheo and Lucero urged New Year revellers to be happy
with torotot (trumpet) and home-made noisemakers that create no toxic fumes and

“For a change, let us welcome 2016 in a safe and
non-toxic way that will not inflict harm on humans, animals and the
environment,” they said.
“DOH Administrative Order 2011-0301” re “Health Advisory
on the Potential

Toxic Health Effects of Firecrackers and Pyrotechnics.”