A waste and pollution watchdog urged presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte to make good on his promise to ban firecrackers and fireworks nationwide.
The EcoWaste Coalition, a civil society partner of the Department of Health in the yearly “Iwas Paputok” campaign, expressed optimism that the Davao City’s ban on firecrackers and fireworks would finally get replicated this year in towns and cities across the country.
“We want a comprehensive ban on firecrackers and fireworks to save lives and to protect the climate, the environment and the public health from hazardous emissions and wastes,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“It’s high time that the Philippines, a climate hotspot, bid goodbye to New Year pollution and mayhem,” she said.
Several other groups have joined the EcoWaste Coalition in manifesting support for a national ban on firecrackers and fireworks under the Duterte presidency, including the Bangon Kalikasan Movement, Concerned Citizens Advocating Philippine Environmental Sustainability, Health Futures Foundation, Health Justice, Interface Development Interventions, Kinaiyahan Foundation, Mother Earth Foundation, Philippine Animal Welfare Society and the Philippine Medical Association – Committee on Environmental Health and Ecology.
“Like the Davaoeños, we can usher in the New Year in a non-wasteful fashion through non-deafening, non-injurious and non-toxic noisemakers and through the conduct of fun-filled ‘kantahan,’ ‘salu-salo’ and more in our homes and neighborhoods,” Lucero said.
The massive detonation of both legal and illegal pyrotechnics to herald the New Year goes against the basic state policies of protecting human health and the ecosystems as enshrined in the Constitution, the EcoWaste Coalition pointed out.
On the other hand, banning firecrackers and fireworks will help in meeting the objectives of the Clean Air Act, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Clean Water Act, Climate Change Act, Animal Welfare Act and other environmental and health laws..
The EcoWaste Coalition cited eight reasons why the Filipino people should rally behind a national ban on firecrackers and fireworks as announced by Duterte:
1. Firecrackers and fireworks cause serious, if not fatal, injuries to users and non-users alike.
2. Firecrackers and fireworks generate carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
3. Firecrackers and fireworks produce toxic fumes that exacerbate the air quality and aggravate respiratory and cardiovascular episodes.
4. Firecrackers and fireworks generate tons of toxic-laced non-reusable and non-recyclable discards disposed of in streets, waterways, dumpsites and landfills.
5. Firecrackers and fireworks can lead to fires.
6. Firecrackers and fireworks create thick smog resulting to poor visibility, causing public safety hazards.
7. Firecrackers and fireworks produce ear-splitting noise that is painful for animals, especially to cats and dogs.
8. Firecrackers and fireworks squander hard-earned money for few minutes of “dirty” entertainment that is better spent for food, clothing, books, medicines and other necessities.
“If Davao City can enforce the ban on firecrackers and fireworks since 2001, we see no reason why the entire country cannot do the same,” Lucero said.