Environment group seeks non-toxic new year celebrations
MANILA, Philippines – An environment group is asking Filipinos to consciously make non-toxic choices for the New Year, and save money as well.
The EcoWaste Coalition said environment-friendly celebrations do not only mean doing away with firecracker and fireworks displays, but also skipping pollution-inducing events like balloon drops, releasing sky lanterns, and the burning of trash and used tires.
“We advise all sectors to keep the 2020 countdown activities as ecological as possible. Event organizers should refrain from doing things that tend to contaminate the air, land, and water with wastes and toxins that can harm humans and other living things,” EcoWaste Coalition’s Chemical Safety Campaigner Thony Dizon said in a statement.
Dixon said local governments, media outfits, shopping malls, hotels, resorts, and households should put the protection of the natural environment a top priority in the many exciting events being planned to ring in the New Year.
Instead of spending too much on such harmful practices, the group also urged both the public and private sectors to just save money or donate them to victims of the calamities.
While the negative effects of lighting firecrackers and fireworks displays have been well-documented — as the increase in smog levels has been recorded in Metro Manila every yuletide season — the end results of balloon drops and other dangerous traditions were also laid down by EcoWaste Coalition.
According to the group, when the balloons, firecrackers, fireworks, and sky lanterns fall back into earth, some of it may end up on the sea, which sea animals may ingest as they mistook it for food. Even worse are sky lanterns, as it may cause wildfires in case it lands in a bushy area.
“The EcoWaste Coalition also urged revelers not to set rubbish and used tires on fire, warning that open burning creates a toxic cocktail of fine particulates, heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants or POPs like dioxins,” Dizon said.
“Ensuring that planned events will cause no harm to the environment and the climate is necessary to protect ‘the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology’ as enshrined in the nation’s Constitution,” he added.
But aside from all the reminders, Dizon also told the public to be mindful of their trash, especially as truckloads of waste have been recovered from tourist spots like the Rizal Park every Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Just this Christmas season, around 50 metric tons of trash was collected from Rizal Park during the Christmas holiday, according to the National Parks Development Committee.
“Let’s keep our parks clean, tidy and safe by not littering, smoking and vaping there at all times,” Dizon pleaded
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