Quezon City government bans the unauthorized use of fire crackers and pyrotechnics devices

Photo © Cofi Nuguid via Flickr | Manila Bulletin

IN A bid to safeguard public health, property and the environment, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista last month approved an ordinance seeking the city-wide total ban on the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics prompting environmentalists to laud the city’s chief executive and lawmakers.

The EcoWaste Coalition, in a press statement last Sunday, said the city government’s ban on firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices is surely praise worthy but more so if the ordinance’s Implementing Rules and Regulation is crafted on time. The coalition, at the same time, called on all other chief executives nationwide to follow suit.

“We laud our local officials for enacting this ordinance that promises health and environmental benefits beyond measure for the people of Quezon City. We (however) await the promulgation of its implementing rules and regulations, and the initiation of an effective information drive that should target and involve the grassroots. Metro Manila and the whole nation will be watching as Quezon City enforces its ban on firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices for the common good,”said Thony Dizon, EcoWaste Coalition chemical safety campaigner.

Quezon City Ordinance No. 2618, Series of 2017, introduced by Councilor Ranulfo Ludovica and 31 other councilors, was signed into effectivity by Bautista last October 13. It specifically prohibits the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices in all public places of the city during festivities and other occasions.

“Public places,” according to the ordinance, cover any “street, road, alley, thoroughfare, open space, plaza, park, basketball court, and other similar places.”

Furthermore, under the ordinance, “it shall be unlawful for any person to use or play firecrackers or pyrotechnic devices in all public places of Quezon City during festivity or for any occasion, unless a clearance is obtained from the Department of Public Order and Safety.”

The ordinance likewise mandates that “it shall be the duty of the Punong Barangays to strictly enforce the provisions of this Ordinance within their respective territorial jurisdiction. The Department of Public Order and Safety and the Quezon City Police District shall extend assistance for the purpose.”

Moreover, “any person found to be violating the provisions of this Ordinance shall be penalized by a fine of P5,000 or an imprisonment of one year, or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.”

QC Mayor Herbert Bautista. Photo © http://newsinfo.inquirer.net

According to Bautista, the total ban on firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices is an essential health, environmental preservation and safety measure.

The ordinance authors, for their part, explained that “as a matter of public safety, there is an imperative need to prohibit the use or play of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices in all public places in Quezon City to prevent untimely deaths, injuries and damage to properties.”

Meanwhile, leaders of different environmental and health groups have varying reactions to the new ordinance.

Arugaan’s founder Ines Fernandez expressed hope that with the passing of the firecrackers prohibition, the public would see the lowering of the number of children falling victims to exploding firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices.

“Children are at high risk for firecracker-related injuries that can seriously maim or kill. Year in and year out, we hear stories of kids burning their skins, losing their fingers and having irreplaceable body parts amputated due to misuse of firecrackers. Quezon City’s ban on firecrackers, which all parents should support, will put an end to these gory stories.”

Arugaan is a breastfeeding advocacy group promoting child and maternal health.

Clean Advocate and Green Convergence Director Tessa Oliva noted that “Quezon City’s ban on firecrackers is good news for our noses and lungs as it will cut the discharge of dirty and toxic fumes that we inhale, which can aggravate the health conditions of adults and kids, especially those with asthma and other respiratory ailments. Since air pollutants know no boundaries, we hope other LGUs will ban firecrackers and fireworks as well.”

While Sonia Mendoza, Mother Earth Foundation chair, said “with the ban on firecrackers, we hope to see cleaner streets come New Year’s Day. We look forward to ushering in 2018 with no more firecracker wrappers and debris to sweep and dispose of. The ban will surely cut the quantity and toxicity of residual waste that our communities throw away during New Year and other special occasions,” said Sonia Mendoza, Chairman, Mother Earth Foundation.

The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) said the firecrackers ban would be a good thing for all animals, especially those who suffer because of extensive firecracker use during the New Year’s celebration.

PAWS Executive Director Anna Cabrera said “the prohibition on firecrackers will be very beneficial to animals, especially for pets as well as stray cats and dogs who suffer a lot from the ear-splitting sounds of firecracker explosions” as she challenged other local government entities to “follow Quezon City’s example.”

For the poor city dwellers, the ban could translate to more food on the table, especially during the yuletide season.

Mercy Donor of Piglas Kababaihan said “as a resident of an urban poor community in Quezon City, the ban of firecrackers, we hope, will reduce the threat of fires in our neighborhood, as well as put more nutritious food on the table with the money saved from not buying firecrackers.”

 

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