Greeting New Year minus the big bang
To welcome the new year amid the Metro Manila-wide ban on firecrackers, try banging pot lids, shaking piggy banks or just plain old clapping and stomping, an environment and health group urged on Wednesday.
Ecowaste Coalition appealed to the public to explore these alternative noisemakers instead of the usual pyrotechnics to avoid health and environmental hazards.
“Let us end this year of unparalleled challenges and difficulties due to destructive calamities and the COVID-19 pandemic, not with the usual mayhem and pollution,” said Thony Dizon, the group’s chemical safety campaigner.
“For a change, let us celebrate the New Year in a way that will not injure or kill others, trigger fires, generate toxic emissions and wastes and torture our cats and dogs with painful noise,” he added.
Substitute noisemaking tools can also be crafted and fashioned out of old materials, Ecowaste said. Empty cans, for instance, can be upcycled as improvised maracas, while flattened bottled crowns can be made into tambourines.
Buckets and biscuit cans can serve as makeshift drums.
The public can also honk their bicycle and car horns or simply switch on their radios or music players on New Year’s Eve.
“Alternatively, you can also do away with noisemakers and opt to welcome the New Year in the quiet but joyful company of the people you care for,” Dizon said.
Ecowaste also urged revelers not to release balloons and sky lanterns or burn garbage and used tires to ring in the new year.
On Monday, mayors in Metro Manila’s 16 cities and one town issued a resolution prohibiting the individual and household use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices during the new year festivities while the region remains under general community quarantine.
In Resolution No. 20-17 passed by the Metro Manila Council (MMC), the mayors noted that the individual and household use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices “attract mass gatherings without the proper observance of COVID-19 safety protocols such as social distancing and allowed number of persons.”
Violators will face penalties in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 11332, or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, and regulations on the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices, such as Republic Act No. 7183, Executive Order No. 28, series of 2017, and Department of the Interior and Local Government Memorandum Circular Nos. 2017-105, 2017-168, and 2018-216.
The MMC resolution formalized an earlier decision of all 17 Metro Manila mayors to prohibit the use of firecrackers to reduce the risks of firecracker injuries and prevent mass gatherings amid the risk of transmitting the deadly virus.
No fireworks display
The city governments of Marikina, Valenzuela, Quezon City, Navotas, Parañaque and Muntinlupa had earlier passed their own ordinances banning firecrackers in their localities.
Aside from banning the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices, Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro canceled the city government’s annual community-based fireworks display and concert, saying it constituted mass gathering that may cause coronavirus transmission among spectators.
Aside from avoiding firecrackers, merrymakers should remember to observe basic health protocols, such as hand washing and physical distancing, to prevent the spread of diseases, Ecowaste said.
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