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No to Firecrackers, Yes to ‘Torotots’–DENR

QUEZON CITY, Philippines—It may be the season of merrymaking, but the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has again urged the public to do away with buying expensive fireworks or firecrackers and instead go for environment-friendly alternatives to welcome the coming New Year.

Based on several sources, DENR Secretary Ramon Paje has said in a statement that doing so can help minimize air pollution, especially in Metro Manila.

It was previously reported that the quality of air in the metro has improved in the last three quarters. But with the use of firecrackers before the year ends, the quality of air is expected to worsen. So he encouraged the public to use alternatives such as torotot or horns; bang pots, pans, and basins; or   tie in bikes and other vehicles with cans to make a sound when roaming around on the eve of the celebration.

He also said that the lighting up those firecrackers not only takes toll on the environment but on human health as well. He explained that it can affect the fragile health of children and senior citizens, and may cause respiratory and pulmonary diseases, too.

Not only that, firecrackers have caused minor and major accidents over the years. The Department of Health (DOH) assistant secretary Enrique Tayag shared in their official Facebook page last week that “about 80% of all fireworks-related injuries are blasts or burns without amputations, 13% are eye injuries and 6% are blasts or burns requiring amputations.”

DOH statistics also showed that the usual victims are the young children who pick up used, lighted firecrackers.

Secretary Paje further cautioned the public against improper handling and disposal of waste during the holiday season which leads to environmental destruction or degradation and dangers to human health.