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Ways to rock the New Year sans firecrackers

By: - Reporter / @mj_uyINQ
/ 09:21 PM December 26, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—To greet the New Year, laugh at the top of your lungs, jiggle your piggy banks or turn on the radio and break into the latest dance craze.

The EcoWaste Coalition made a list of various ways Filipino households across the country could welcome the New Year this weekend without losing a limb from the indiscriminate use of firecrackers.

“We can avoid headline-grabbing carnage and garbage following the revelry by simply shunning pyrotechnics,” Aileen Lucero, the group’s “Iwas PapuToxic” campaigner, said on Monday.

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To launch its campaign for safe New Year festivities, the group led on Monday a band of children on the streets of Malate, Manila, to promote “Ligtas Salubong 2012,” which aims to promote a “kid-safe” celebration of the New Year.

The members of the Children’s Ministry of Our Lady of Remedies Parish in Malate amused commuters and residents with a number of alternatives to hazardous firecrackers.

The annual collaboration between the Care for the Earth Ministry and the EcoWaste Coalition since 2008 also showcased the use of creative noisemakers to safely welcome the New Year, complementing efforts of the Department of Health (DoH) to reduce firecracker-related injuries.

“New Year revelers should take their cue from these smart kids and refrain from buying and letting off firecrackers that could endanger the health and life of both users and non-users,” said parish priest Fr. John Leydon.

“With a little creativity, we can have a joyful celebration with our families and neighbors without causing toxic fumes and wastes and loud cries from children wounded in firecracker explosions,” he said.

Instead of lighting up firecrackers, the EcoWaste Coalition suggested other inexpensive but innovative ways to welcome 2012 with a bang:

* Let your alarm clock ring or play ring tones on your mobile phones at exactly midnight.

* Play your favorite music or musical instruments or just turn on the radio.

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* Jiggle “piggy banks” or “shakers” made from paper box or plastic bottles with seeds, pebbles or coins.

* Clap your hands and stamp your feet.

* Laugh at the top of your lungs.

* Do the latest dance craze, twist and shout “Happy New Year!”

* Blow Pinoy-style trumpets or “torotot.”

* Strike washbasins (palanggana) with a ladle or stick.

* Blow a whistle.

* Play homemade drums made of big water bottles, biscuit cans or buckets.

The DoH has repeatedly reminded Filipinos to refrain from using firecrackers to celebrate the New Year.

Health  Secretary Enrique Ona has also advised households across the country to mount communal fireworks display in their villages or town plazas to ensure that fireworks are handled only by experts.

Fireworks and firecracker-related mishaps during the holidays last year were still at an all-time high with 1,022 incidents reported to the DoH. The figure was merely 1.4 percent lower than the previous year with 1,036 incidents.

At least 34 percent of all firecracker-related injuries last year involved children aged between 1 and 10. The victims sustained injuries from blasting without amputation (79 percent), eye injuries (15 percent), and blast injuries with amputation (6 percent).

The small, cheap and colorful “piccolo” and “kwitis” were still the top sources of firecracker-related injuries during the 2011 New Year revelry.

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TAGS: EcoWaste Coalition, Holidays, New Year, parties, Philippines, public events, revelry, Safety of citizens, Security
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