Toxics watchgroup warns public that burning trash leads to pollution, cancer

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No shortcuts, please.

With Fire Prevention Month coming up in March, toxics watchgroup EcoWaste Coalition yesterday reminded the public that while burning may be an easier and faster way to get rid of trash compared to recycling, it is dangerous and harmful, not just to people and their health but the environment as well.

Furthermore, it can lead to fires and is also against the law, specifically the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and Clean Air Act which prohibit the open burning of municipal, medical and hazardous wastes. Violators face fines ranging from P300 to P1,000 or even imprisonment for a day or up to two weeks depending on the gravity of the violation, it added.

“The open burning of discards destroys and deprives our society [of] useful resources that could have been reused, repurposed, recycled or composted while producing a toxic concoction of chemicals that can pollute the air, contaminate the food supply and harm human health,” EcoWaste vice president Ochie Tolentino said in a statement.

It also poses health risks as it emits contaminants that can irritate the eyes, throat, skin and lead to breathing problems, headaches and even cancer, she added.

According to the group, burning garbage, which contains chlorine also contributes to the high formation of dioxins which are described by the World Health Organization as highly toxic, may cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and lead to cancer.

Ecowaste explained that dioxins and other chemical by-products of open trash burning could be deposited in plants which, when eaten by farm animals or fish, end up accumulating in their fatty tissues.

These dioxins and chemicals are then passed to people through their consumption of dairy products, eggs, meat, fish and shellfish, it said.

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