ECOWASTE Coalition, an environment and public health watchdog, early this week urged young students to spurn firecrackers and opt instead for alternative noise makers to herald the coming year in a bid to have zero casualty during the New Year’s revelry.
In a well attended awareness drive at the Jacinto Zamora Elementary School in Pandacan District of Manila, coalition members together with 2016 Miss Philippines Earth – Eco-tourism Melanie Mader, Department of Health Spokesperson Dr. Eric Tayag and representatives from national and local governmental authorities, discussed the dangers of using firecrackers with some 1,000 kinder to elementary school children and their parents.
“Firecrackers are not toys for young children to play with,” stressed Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator. She pointed out that “firecrackers are dangerous, deadly and dirty” and “a total waste of money for a few minutes of toxic revelry.”
“To stop the tragic injuries and deaths, the destructive fires, the hazardous pollution, and the acoustic torture against animals due to firecrackers, we appeal to the general public to welcome 2017 in a safe and eco-friendly way without firecrackers,” she added.
Lucero also said the delayed issuance of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order imposing a national ban on firecrackers should not discourage communities and families from welcoming the New Year sans firecrackers.
“Now is the time to break the senseless ‘tradition’ of greeting the New Year with bloody mayhem, ear-splitting noise, fires, littered streets, smoggy skies and soot-blackened noses caused by firecrackers. It’s high time for every Filipino to assert our right to breathe clean air, especially on New Year’s Eve and on New Year’s Day. It’s time for us to claim our right not to be exposed to toxic pollutants and wastes from firecrackers,” Lucero noted.
At the same time, Lucero called for a sustained campaign at the community-level against piccolo and other firecrackers. She also urged households, business establishments and big corporations to divert funds earmarked for firecrackers and fireworks to worthy charities and causes instead.
“Don’t burn away your money, buy food or give it to charity!” she pleaded.
Ms. Mader, on the other hand, expressed her solidarity with the coalition’s aim of having zero casualty on New Year’s eve.
“I join the DOH and the EcoWaste Coalition in requesting the public, particularly the parents and their kids, not to light firecrackers anymore and to celebrate the beginning of a New Year with the health of their family members and neighbors and the well-being of Mother Earth in mind,” Mader said.
Angelino Mojica, JZES principal, warmly welcomed the visitors to the school, which was adjudged Regional Winner and National Finalist under the Elementary School Category of the 2015 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools.
Moreover, JZES students showed some of these alternative noisemakers, including: recycled maracas from empty pineapple juice cans, recycled tambourine from flattened softdrink crowns, improvised cymbals using pot lids and assorted shakers made from used product containers that were filled with coins, pebbles or seeds.