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MANILA, Philippines – Children on Monday, Dec. 26, 2011, took part in a march in Malate to promote a “kid-safe” celebration of the New Year.
They called for alternatives to hazardous firecrackers in an event dubbed “Ligtas Salubong 2012.” The march is part of the annual collaboration between the Care for the Earth Ministry and the EcoWaste Coalition since 2008.
“New Year revelers should take their cue from these smart kids and refrain from buying and letting off firecrackers that could endanger the health and life of both users and non-users,” EcoWaste quoted parish priest Fr. John Leydon as saying.
Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste “Iwas Paputoxic” campaigner, said the money saved by not blowing up firecrackers and fireworks can aid ongoing humanitarian efforts in places ravaged by tropical storm “Sendong.”
“We can avoid headline-grabbing carnage and garbage following the revelry by simply shunning pyrotechnics,” she said.
On Monday, a seven-year-old boy joined the list of people injured by firecrackers. The boy, a resident of Tondo, was rushed to the Tondo Medical Center after sustaining an injury from a “Five Star,” radio dzBB’s Carlo Mateo reported.
His injury came amid calls made by the Philippine National Police and the Department of Health discouraging people from using fireworks to welcome the New Year.
Citing data from the Department of Health, the Ecowaste Coalition said 34%of all firecracker-related injuries from December 21 to January 5, 2010 involved children from ages 1 to 10.
The victims sustained injuries from blasting without amputation (79%), eye injuries (15%), and blast injuries with amputation (6%).
Of the 1,022 injuries during the said period, 972 were firecracker-related, 39 were from stray bullets and 11 from the ingestion of firecrackers.
Metro Manila had the most number of recorded cases at 581, followed by the Ilocos Region (73 cases), Central Luzon and CALABARZON (66 cases each), and Western Visayas (65), the group said.
As of 6:00 am of December 25, 2011, there were 30 injuries reported involving people from 2 to 49 years old, according to the Department of Health’s “Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction” (APIR) surveillance update.
With the countdown to the New Year having started, police are shifting their attention to firecrackers.
Order to cops
In southern Metro Manila, the Southern Police District ordered its personnel to confiscate illegal fireworks, radio dzBB’s Sam Nielsen reported Monday.
SPD spokesperson Chief Inspector Jenny Tecson said they will meet with local government officials in southern Metro Manila to get their support in cracking down on illegal fireworks.
Tecson was quoted in the report as saying the SPD plans to meet with the LGUs to get their support, especially in setting up relatively safe community firecracker zones.
Areas covered by the SPD include Makati, Pasay, Taguig, Parañaque, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa Cities, and Pateros town.
The move came amid reports that firecracker makers and dealers are willing to donate part of their sales this year to victims of tropical storm “Sendong” (Washi).
A dzBB report quoted Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc. president Vimme Erese as saying they will donate a percentage of their sales this year to the victims.
But he said they expect lower sales this year due to low production and high costs of raw materials. – Rappler.com