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Green group pushes for nationwide total firecracker ban

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health is gearing up its annual anti-firecrackers’ campaign, “Oplan: Iwas Paputok, Fireworks Display Ang Patok,” which aims to reduce the number of firecracker-related injuries by steering the public away from its use and supporting community fireworks displays in celebrating the new year.

The campaign is in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) No. 28 which seeks to regulate and control the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.

However, for environmental group EcoWaste Coalition, all kinds of firecrackers must be banned in the entire country.

“Bagama’t nakikibahagi tayo dito sa kampanya ng Department of Health ay mayroon pa ring talagang sariling posisyon yung EcoWaste at talagang yan ay ang pagpipigil o pagba-ban talaga ng paggamit kahit anong klaseng paputok,” said EcoWaste Coalition chemical safety campaigner, Anthony Dizon.

He added that legalizing firecrackers will not diminish the hazards it poses to the general public.

“Legal man yan o ilegal magdudulot pa rin yan ng pinsala lalong-lalo na sa kamay na mismo o kung hawak na yan ng mga bata,” said Dizon.

The group also distributed copies of a draft ordinance to all local government units in the 17 cities of Metro Manila to campaign for the total firecracker ban.

The group insists that just like in Davao City, which has long adopted the ban, it is also possible to implement the proposed ordinance in other parts of the country.

“Maghanap ng alternatibong panghanap buhay sa mga kababayan natin lalong-lalo na sa mga nagtitinda o nagpro- produce nito,” suggested Dizon.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fire Protection has already recorded 19 firecracker related incidents nationwide. — Chato Alonsagay (with reports from Cathy Maglalang)

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Toxic watchdog warns of mercury pollution from lamp waste

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, April 12th, 2018

EcoWaste Coalition warns of mercury pollution from lamp waste.

MANILA, Philippines — Environmental group, EcoWaste Coalition called on the local governments to impose a collection program for special wastes such as lamp waste.

This is due to health and environmental risks posed by mercury-containing wastes.

According to Dr. Bessie Antonio, a toxicologist, mercury exposure can affect the nervous, digestive, respiratory and immune systems.

Aside from this, when mercury vaporizes it can contaminate the air and the environment.

The environment group said one of the causes of mercury pollution is unsafe handling and improper disposal of fluorescent bulbs that contain mercury.

According to the Environmental Management Bureau, over 370 tons of mercury-waste products are disposed of each year. — UNTV News & Rescue

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President Duterte to push for total nationwide firecracker ban

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Only a week into the year 2018 and President Rodrigo Duterte is already eyeing a total firecracker and pyrotechnics ban throughout the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that such plan will be among the measures that the administration will push in Congress after the Department of Health failed to meet its target to lower the incidence of firecracker-related injuries by 50 percent.

“The President also indicated that he will push for Congress to enact a law that will ban all firecrackers and pyrotechnics,” said the presidential spokesperson.

Based on the latest report of the Department of Health, a total of 449 firecracker-related injuries for only about 28 percent decline in the number of firecracker-related injuries from December 21, 2017, to January 6, 2018.

Meanwhile, a total nationwide ban on firecrackers is expected to put an estimated 75,000 workers out of jobs.

But the government assured they will not be disregarded.

“He instructed the Department of Trade and Industry to look for alternative livelihood for the would-be displaced workers,” said Roque. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

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Government agencies, EcoWaste Coalition conduct ‘Iwas-Paputok’ campaign in Manila

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, December 28th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines —By launching a parade, the EcoWaste Coalition has called on the public to avoid using fireworks for the coming new year.

Various government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and barangay officials joined the group.

The group urged the public to use alternative noise-producing tools like pots, ukelele, maracas, tambourine and other objects that do not contain poisonous chemicals.

They also appealed to the public to no longer use pyrotechnics.

“Kung sobra-sobra ‘yung pailaw ay talaga namang napakagrabe ‘nung air pollution na nililikha nito (too much fireworks can cause serious air pollution),” said EcoWaste Coalition National Coordinator Aileen Lucero.

“Kaya papansinin mo ‘yung iba nagre-red eye, magkakasipon, biglang uubuhin o kaya mamamalat. Kahit wala namang infection namamalat and worse doon sa mga pasyente natin na may hika na, o kaya may COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) at kahit heart disease,” said Dr. Maricar Limpin, an internist-pulmonologist.

(If you notice, some people will get a red-eye, start having colds and cough or suddenly has a hoarse voice without an infection. Worse if the patient has asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and even heart disease.)

Department of Health Assistant Secretary Maria Francia Laxamana said that there is a need for a more intensified campaign as illegal selling and use of firecrackers still abound.

“Ang DOH kasama din ang PNP at saka ang local chief executive lalo na ‘yung mga barangay natin, kasama natin sa nagmomonitor sa mga maliliit na tindahan na marami pa rin nakakalusot,” said the assistant secretary.

(The DOH, together with PNP and the local chief executive of the barangay, is helping us in monitoring small stores, but many still manage to slip through.)

Police forces are also on maximum deployment from December 31 to January 1.

So far, they are yet to monitor any illegal use of firecrackers or fireworks display.

“Tigilan na ang pagbebenta ng illegal na paputok para din sa mga tao. Minsan kasi parang nagkakasayahan na nakakalimutan na ‘yung security, ‘yung kaligtasan noong iba(Stop the sale of illegal fireworks for the public’s sake. Sometimes in the revelry, the safety and security of others are overlooked.)  ,” said MPD Deputy Police Community Relations P/CInsp. Gary Ocampo. — Mai Bermudez | UNTV News & Rescue


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