30 December 2009

EcoWaste Coalition Cautions the Public against Burning Tires and Trash in Revelry

Quezon City. A waste and pollution watchdog today warned against the burning of used tires and trash during the New Year revelry to prevent toxic pollutants from endangering the public health, climate and environment.

The EcoWaste Coalition appealed for public vigilance against open burning as the whole nation gears up to welcome 2010.

Burning up worn tires on New Year’s eve and setting firecracker wrappings, used boga (PVC cannons), plastics and other discards on fire after the festivities are unhealthy as well as unlawful,” said Manny Calonzo, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Open burning is unhealthy because it releases toxic pollutants that can cause shortness of breath and headaches, infuriate the eyes, throat and skin, cause lung irritation and congestion, and trigger cancers and other life-threatening health issues,” said Manny Calonzo, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

The most notorious among these pollutants are dioxins, a proven human carcinogen according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, that can cause cancers and other serious disorders in the reproductive, developmental, immune and nervous systems.

“We would like to remind the public that used tires become a toxic waste when they are set in flames,” Calonzo said.

Aside from dioxins, burning tires also releases a toxic soup of pollutants including lead, mercury and other heavy metals, carbon monoxide, solvents, numerous products of incomplete combustion and other chemicals of concerns.

“To minimize the risk from health and environmental contaminants as well as encourage recycling for resource conservation, our lawmakers deemed it necessary to make open burning unlawful,” he added.

Two major environmental laws, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and the Clean Air Act, prohibit open burning of trash, with the former penalizing violators with a fine of P300 to P1,000, or imprisonment of 1 to 15 days, or both.

The EcoWaste Coalition also warned that toxic byproducts from open burning can contaminate the food supply as toxins are transported via air and water and deposited onto leafy plants that are consumed by farm animals or ingested by fish and other aquatic organisms.

For a safer and climate-friendly New Year celebrations, the EcoWaste Coalition urges the public to shun firecrackers and fireworks and thwart pollution from the illegal burning of tires and holiday trash.

Metro Manila, which has a recycling rate of over 25% only, has a daily waste generation of about 8,000 metric tons. Daily trash generation per person in the metropolis rises from 0.7 kilo on regular days to 1.2 kilos during the holiday season.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 329, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 441-1846
ecowastecoalition@yahoo.com

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