EcoWaste Coalition Backs Tougher Regulation to Cut Firecracker-Related Injury, Death and Pollution

A waste and pollution watch group has reiterated its call
for a ban on firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices following a deadly
blast at a firecracker store in Bocaue, Bulacan yesterday morning.
The EcoWaste Coalition, which has been conducting its “Iwas Paputoxic” drive since
2003 complementing the government’s annual campaign against firecrackers, warned
that more people would perish and suffer this year if the “outdated” habit of
igniting firecrackers and fireworks continue unabated.
“We appeal to the government to turn the citywide Davao ban on firecrackers and
fireworks into a nationwide regulation that will safeguard human health and the
environment from hazardous emissions and wastes, and protect the animals, too”
said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. 
“It’s high time that the rule of law, particularly the enforcement of our
environmental and animal welfare laws, prevails in our customary welcome of the
New Year,” she added.
“It’s time to discard the dirty, dangerous and deadly New Year rites,” she
further said.
group expressed its hope that the Executive Order (EO) being drafted by the
Department of Health as announced by Secretary Paulyn Ubial would totally ban
the manufacture, distribution and sale of firecrackers for individual and
household use, and illegalize their sale to the general public. 
“As most of the victims of firecracker-related injuries are young children, we
also hope that the EO would impose tough penalties to vendors selling
firecrackers to minors,” she said. 
The much-anticipated EO, the EcoWaste Coalition said, could contribute a great
deal to turning our New Year festivities into a zero injury, zero emission and
zero waste celebration or darn close.
The large-scale explosion of legal and illegal
pyrotechnics to usher in New Year is not in agreement with the state policy of protecting
human health and the environment as mirrored in several national laws, the
group pointed out.
Among the laws that are blatantly disregarded during the celebrations include the
Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management
Act, as well as the Animal Welfare Act, the group said.