EcoWaste Coalition urges communities to welcome New Year without firecrackers

The EcoWaste Coalition and various organizations on Friday called on every community in the country to stay safe in welcoming the new year by shunning firecrackers.

"As 2016 is about to end, we urge our community leaders and their constituents to go all out for a harmless celebration of the New Year sans firecrackers," EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator, Aileen Lucero, said as they held a community program and parade at the Project 6 Barangay Hall Park.

As lighting firecrackers can go awry and lead to serious injuries that could result in amputation, damage to eyes, burns, poisoning when ingested, not to mention fire, Lucero suggested instead that people make noise by blowing 'torotot' (horns), shaking piggy banks or plastic bottles filled with coins or pebbles, or beating such kitchen utensils as pots and lids or toy drums and xylophones. She also showed how coconut shells and empty cans could be turned into maracas to create noise.

Aside from alternative noisemakers, Lucero also showed how the banned 'piccolo' firecracker looks like to familiarize parents and children alike so they would not purchase it. Among firecrackers, the 'piccolo' is the cause of most firecracker-related injuries in the country.

Lucero likewise advised adults to make sure that children do not spend their money on firecrackers. Barangay Project 6 chairman Vicente Honorio Llamas V agreed, saying that money spent on firecrackers, which also harm the environment, might as well be used to buy food and other household needs, or better yet, be donated to victims of a recent fire in Quezon City and Typhoon Nina.

Meanwhile, Quezon City Councilor Beth Delarmente said it is about time people abandon the use of firecrackers, as instead of warding off misfortune during the incoming year, as is widely believed, they actually cause misery.

"If you want to create happy noise, try videoke singing and dancing," said Delarmente, who authored a city ordinance that limits the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnics to designated areas in the barangay. She noted that Barangay Project 6 has been observing the ordinance and had in fact achieved zero casualty last year.

This should be replicated, not only by the barangays in Quezon City, but by other cities where the number of injuries from firecrackers are high, she told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.

Delarmente and other city officials were scheduled to visit other areas in the city to remind residents to have a safe New Year celebration.

The advocacy was followed by a parade held by members of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP) and parent-teacher associations, as well as teams from the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire and the Philippine Red Cross.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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