‘Refrain from using firecrackers’
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has asked Filipinos to eradicate or minimize the use of firecrackers in celebrating the New Year’s Eve this coming Friday.
“If the environment sector had its way, Filipinos should set an example to the world by celebrating New Year’s Eve without firecrackers,” DENR Secretary Ramon Paje.
The DENR chief explained that firecrackers cause bits of paper to fly about and emit dust when blown up.
“Firecrackers and other pyrotechnic materials contain sulfur, charcoal and other ingredients that when ignited, react with oxidants in the air to form carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide that are known greenhouse gases,” Paje said.
These also increase the number of coarse particulates or pollutants that can complicate respiratory problems,” he added.
Aside from lighting firecrackers, the DENR is also appealing to the public to refrain from burning tires, as the smoke they emit causes carbon monoxide and other poisonous metals such as zinc that are harmful to humans when inhaled.
Aggravating the smog that results from the millions of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic material lit during the festivities is the cold weather that traps pollutants closer to the ground.
“We can expect the smog to blanket the metropolis for a couple of days, or more if there are rains. People with respiratory or pulmonary problems such as asthma and pneumonia can also expect their conditions to worsen when they breathe in the dirty air,” Paje said.
Instead of firecrackers, the environment secretary suggests making noise that are safer to health and the environment.
“Blow horns that are made of recycled or reusable materials, or play some music that you and your family can dance to,” he said.
“Better yet, spend time with your family and pray that the coming year will be a good one for each Filipino and our environment,” Paje said.
The tradition of celebrating New Year’s Eve with firecrackers was started by the Chinese, who in ancient times believed that making enough noise would drive away evil spirits.
Ironically, however, the Chinese government has been mulling a firecracker and fireworks ban as one way to reduce air pollution particularly in Beijing, which has one of the worst pollution cases in the world.*PNA