"By raising public awareness about the problems with open burning, we hope that more people will abide by the law, as spearheaded by the barangay councils, and discontinue this unhealthy practice that only turns our solid waste problem into a serious chemical threat to our people's health,” Merci Ferrer of the EcoWaste Coalition said. “This is part of our active promotion of ecological solutions to the garbage crisis that continues to haunt us," she added.
The EcoWaste Coalition is specifically referring to Section 48 of Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which, among others, bans the open burning of solid waste and penalizes violators with a fine amounting to P300 to P1,000 or 1 to 15-day imprisonment or both.
Residents led by Barangay Captain Robin Porlaje welcomed the advocates for the ecological approach to managing discards who briefed them about the adverse impacts of open burning, including respiratory diseases, cancers and other serious ailments that can be triggered or worsened by the toxic byproducts of burning waste materials.
"We commend the EcoWaste Coalition for this timely advocacy to protect the people's health from the toxic practice of burning garbage,” stated Porlaje, who leads this vibrant community of 2,600 individuals. “Our Barangay Council is committed to enhancing the health of our community members and will take action to enforce the ban on open burning. We exhort the other barangays in Quezon City and elsewhere to wage a common fight against open burning," he further said.
To get their message across, the environmental campaigners from the EcoWaste Coalition and Mascomthea dressed themselves in fiery colors of fire to mimic the illicit practice of burning discards, while others hold skull and crossbones cutouts of dioxins, the most notorious environmental pollutants resulting from the burning of chlorinated materials.
“Dioxins belong to an initial set of 12 extremely toxic substances known as the ‘dirty dozen’ that the international community, including the Philippines, seeks to eliminate for the protection of human health and the environment,” explained Manny Calonzo of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.
According to the EcoWaste Coalition, a concerted action by all members of the society is required to rid the environment of these toxic contaminants, starting with concrete steps that will prevent and reduce the quantity and toxicity of discarded resources and promote the ecological management of resources.
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