28 February 2012

Open Garbage Burning Ban Pushed


Environmental advocates appealed to the government Monday to actively implement the ban on open burning of garbage to reduce human exposure to hazardous emissions, in time for the Clean Air Summit to be held in Metro Manila on February 29.
“We call upon concerned national and local authorities to resolutely enforce the ban on open burning to eliminate hazardous emissions from the combustion of discards,” EcoWaste Coalition president Roy Alvarez said.

“This will reduce smoke pollution and improve the air quality, while conserving resources that can be put to good use,” he added.
Under Section 48 of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, open burning of discards is prohibited and penalized with a fine of P300 to P1,000 or imprisonment of one to 15 days, or both.
The group made the appeal prior to a government-sponsored “Clean Air Summit for Metro Manila” slated on February 29 to be led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Health (DoH), and other agencies.
Instead of open burning that results to climate and chemical pollution, the group urges households, institutions, factories and farms to reduce, reuse and recycle their discards and turn food scraps, garden trimmings and farm residues into compost or mulch.
Data from the 2006 National Emission Inventory by the DENR indicate that pollutants from mobile sources such as buses, cars, jeeps, motorcycles, tricycles and trucks contribute 65 percent to air pollution, while stationary sources such as factories, heavy industries and power plants discharge 21 percent, and area sources such as agricultural and solid waste burning, construction and related activities emit 14 percent.
“The smoke from the open burning of discards is laden with health-damaging gases and particles that can irritate the eyes, nose and throat, trigger asthma attacks and cause or aggravate other diseases,” Alvarez said.
“Babies, young children, the elderly and persons suffering from allergies and respiratory ailments are most vulnerable to smoke pollution,” he added.
By ELLALYN B. DE VERA
mb.com.ph

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