Green groups stage ‘Ligtas Salubong’

AS the rest of the country continued its Christmas celebration, a toxic watchdog and church-based groups on Sunday reminded the public, especially the children, to stay away from injurious and highly polluting firecrackers this season.

The event, dubbed “Ligtas Salubong 2011,” saw the EcoWaste Coalition partnering with the Care for the Earth Ministry and the Ministry of Children of the Our Lady of Remedies Parish in Malate, Manila to promote safe and climate-friendly alternatives to firecrackers.

After a lively show of substitute noisemakers created from used materials in front of the iconic place of worship, the youth participants paraded around the Malate Catholic Church and Remedios Circle areas brandishing banners.

“New Year’s Eve is supposed to be a festive and joyous occasion,” said Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing against Toxic Chemical Threats). “Don’t spoil it by using hazardous firecrackers and other pyrotechnics which have already been proven to cause injuries and emit toxins into the environment.”

Cristy Pangilinan, representative of the Care for the Earth Ministry, agrees.

“We join the EcoWaste Coalition in pushing for a safe welcome of the New Year for the sake of our young children who are most likely to be injured by mishandled or defective firecrackers. It’s our duty as parents to protect our children from these threats, not expose them to further danger,” she said.

Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr., head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, supported the initiative of the laity to persuade the public to quit blasting firecrackers to welcome the New Year.

“There’s a smarter way of heralding 2011 than wasting hard-earned money in firecrackers that cause bodily harm and massive pollution. For a change, please dump firecrackers this time around and opt for ‘torotot’ and other gentler instruments of merrymaking,” the bishop said.

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