EcoWaste warns vs firecracker use, balloon releases on New Year’s Eve

Mara Cepeda
EcoWaste warns vs firecracker use, balloon releases on New Year’s Eve
The environmental watchdog also asks Filipinos to keep parks clean as they celebrate the arrival of the New Year

MANILA, Philippines – A zero waste advocacy group urged Filipinos to skip lighting firecrackers and releasing balloons to mark the arrival of the New Year, as these acts hurt the environment.

On Sunday, December 29, EcoWaste Coalition’s chemical safety campaigner Thony Dizon warned against using firecrackers and balloons as well as releasing sky lanterns, burning used tires, and littering on New Year’s Eve. 

“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,” Dizon said in a statement. 

He then asked the public, including local governments and managers of shopping malls and hotels, to make protecting the environment their “top priority” as they host celebrations for the New Year. (READ: DOH reminds public: Skip firecrackers this New Year’s eve)

“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,” Dizon said. 

The environmental watchdog has long been against the use of firecrackers to celebrate the New Year, as these cause air pollution apart from leaving packaging remnants on the streets. Balloons and sky lanterns released into the air, meanwhile, would still fall back to earth later on and may be ingested by aquatic animals.  

Last year, Cove Manila canceled its planned balloon drop after receiving backlash from groups like EcoWaste that its New Year’s Eve activity would cause “record-breaking wastefulness.

EcoWaste then asked Filipinos to be more responsible with their waste during their merrymaking activities for the New Year.

“Let’s keep our parks clean, tidy, and safe by not littering, smoking, and vaping there at all times,” Dizon said. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.