Public urged to avoid firecrackers in welcoming New Year

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MANILA, Dec. 28, 2013— With only few days left to usher in another year, an environmental group called on the public to shun pyrotechnics in celebrating.

The waste and pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition on Dec. 26 led a campaign reminding revelers to avoid firecrackers in welcoming the New Year and instead use eco-friendly “torotots” and home-made noisemakers. 

Residents and onlookers cheered the group as they marched from Plaza Hernandez in front of Sto. Niño de Tondo Parish carrying large mock triangulos bearing a “skull and crossbones” poison sign marked with the word “Danger!” while blowing eco-friendly “torotots” and sounding emission-free, home-made noisemakers made from recycled materials. 

“Firecrackers are the last thing anyone needs to celebrate the season, especially since these have already been proven to be harmful to humans, animals and the environment,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.

Lucero explained that the “the money saved by not blowing up firecrackers and fireworks can aid ongoing humanitarian efforts in places ravaged by super typhoon Yolanda.”

She said by avoiding firecrackers and pyrotechnics, “our communities and families we’ll come out ‘buo’ (unscathed) from the New Year’s revelry with no severed fingers, ‘busog’ (full) thanks to the bigger Noche Buena budget due to not buying ‘paputok,’  and ‘malusog’ (healthy) with a cleaner and fume-free environment.”

Called “Pamayanang Hindi Nagpapaputok: Buo, Busog at Malusog”, the campaign was organized in partnership with the Department of Health, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and the Office of Manila 1st District Representative Benjamin “Atong” Asilo.

The activity is part of the EcoWaste Coalition’s ongoing “Iwas PapuToxic” drive complementing the intensified efforts of the Department of Health and other agencies’ anti-firecracker campaign to promote public health and safety against the manifold hazards posed by pyrotechnic devices.

Citing data from the Department of Health, the group said in a press release that most firecracker-related injuries from December 21, 2012 to January 5 this year involved children aged 5 to 12.

Of the 931 total injuries during the said period, 904 were firecracker-related, 25 were from stray bullets and 2 from the ingestion of firecrackers.

The National Capital Region had the most number of recorded cases at 521, followed by Western Visayas (65 cases), Ilocos Region (73 cases) and CALABARZON (59 cases). Manila had the most number of cases with 168 in NCR. (CBCPNews)

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