13 December 2015

Watchdog Tags Piccolo as “Children’s Enemy No. 1,” Urges Concerted Action to Protect Kids from Harm (“Santa” Offers Guide for Safe, Non-Toxic New Year’s Revelry)

An environment and health watchdog group appealed for collaborative action to protect young children from banned piccolo firecracker, the leading cause of firecracker-related injuries in the country.

“Piccolo, without doubt, is children’s enemy number one during this festive season of merry making.  Despite being banned since 2007, piccolo has inflicted gruesome bodily harm to hundreds of children for the past many years.  It’s time to beat this monster that has wounded, maimed, blinded and poisoned child victims,“ said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

To stop piccolo from victimizing more children, the EcoWaste Coalition urged all mayors , police chiefs and barangay officials to conduct frequent law enforcement operations and prosecute violators to the full extent of Republic Act 7183 (“An Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution and Use of Firecrackers and Other Pyrotechnics”).

The group also appealed to vendors to stop selling piccolo and other firecrackers to minors.  “Have a conscience please; don’t rake in profits at the expense of children’s health and safety.  The next victim could be your own child,” stated Lucero.|

Department of Health (DOH)  Secretary Janette Garin had earlier called on local government and police authorities to implement the ban on piccolo saying that “if we take away the piccolo (from the market), the decrease in the number of firecracker-related injuries will be significant.” 

Data from the DOH showed that 32 percent of the 840 firecracker-related injuries in 2014, 36 percent of the 997 firecracker-related injuries in 2013 and 26 percent of the 931 firecracker-related injuries in 2012 were due to piccolo.

On Monday, December 14, the EcoWaste Coalition will join the DOH-led kick-off program for the Iwas Paputok  campaign in the National Capital Region to be held in Tondo, Manila.  

To draw the attention of community residents, a member of the group will dress as Santa Claus to promote the so-called “Santa’s Guide for Safe and Non-Toxic New Year’s Festivity,”

“Santa’s Guide” include seven “don’ts” to prevent physical injuries, fires, wastes and toxins during the festive season such as:

1.  Don’t ignite firecrackers. 
2.  Don’t fire guns. 
3.  Don’t use PVC "boga" (cannon). 
4.  Don’t burn used tires.
5.  Don’t burn garbage.
6.  Don’t release sky lanterns.
7.  Don’t use substandard Christmas lights.
In lieu of firecrackers and fireworks, the EcoWaste Coalition urged  the public to go for alternative noisemakers using common household materials and recyclable junks, including pots and pans as improvised cymbals, tambourine made out of tansan (flattened bottle crowns) and shakers using product containers filled with coins, keys, pebbles or seeds.

The group emphasized that it is possible to usher in 2016 in a safe and ecological way that will not cause injuries and fires and discharge loads of health-damaging pollutants into the climate and the environment


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