Muntinlupa LGU Cautioned against Toxic Pollution from Breaking Gambling TVs

While 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 Organization.

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.