Muntinlupa LGU Cautioned against Toxic Pollution from Breaking Gambling TVs

commending  the effort by the Muntinlupa
City Government to combat illegal gambling activities, a waste and pollution
watchdog expressed concern over the way the gambling machines, particularly the
TVs, were destroyed and disposed of.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog, was reacting to the
smashing of 17  video karera gambling
machines, including TVs, led by Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi after last
Monday’s flag ceremony.

“We surely appreciate the ongoing moves by Muntinlupa and other LGUs to fight
illegal gambling operations, but the authorities need to shun the usual practice
of breaking TVs that causes toxic pollution,” said ThonyDizon, Coordinator,
EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Television sets, particularly the old analog type used for video karera, are
made up of various chemicals of concern, including huge quantities of lead in
the cathode ray tubes (CRTs), also known as the picture tube or the video
display component of a TV, Dizon said.

“Breaking the TVs with sledgehammers disperses lead-containing
CRT glass fragments and shards into the surroundings, posing health risk not
only to Mayor Fresnedi and other city and police officials, but also to waste
sweepers and handlers,” he said.

Aside from lead, TVs contain other chemicals of concern such as brominated
flame retardants, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper and mercury.

Cadmium, lead and mercury, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded, are among the “top
10 chemicals of major public health concern” as classified by the World Health

Lead in particular, according to WHO, “ is a cumulative toxicant that affects
multiple body systems, including the neurologic, hematologic, gastrointestinal,
cardiovascular, and renal systems” and that “children are particularly
vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of lead, and even relatively low levels of
exposure can cause serious and in some cases irreversible neurological damage.”

“This is why waste consumer electronics, including TVs, are categorized as
‘special waste’ under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and must be managed
in an environmentally-sound manner as hazardous waste,” Dizon added.

The EcoWaste Coalition recommends that the confiscated video karera TVs should
be sent to government-registered recyclers of electronic waste, where these can
be disassembled in controlled conditions to reduce toxic harm to workers,
community health and the environment.