Monday, May 28

A Burning Warning...

I have a very stubborn neighbor, who always burn their discards such as old notebooks, dirty rags, diapers, food wrappers, milk cartons, cans, plastic bags, old tires and even fallen leaves.

Came upon an article in The Philippine Star, have it printed. I gave it to my neighbor this morning. I really cannot stand the smoke from the burning trash plus the fact that all my kids have asthma. Don't want them to get sick again.

Here's the edited article-

A burning warning: Don’t play with fire
The Philippine Star

"Don’t play with fire. Burning trash is dangerous to public health and the environment." EcoWaste joins the Bureau of Fire Protection in raising public awareness and action to prevent fires. The environmental group particularly draws attention to the hazards of open burning and the availability of ecological alternatives to burning trash, according to Rei Panaligan, EcoWaste Coalition coordinator. Open burning (when was the last time you burned garbage and assorted leaves in your backyard?) remains a serious public health and environmental threat in both urban and rural communities, despite the fact that it is outlawed by Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

According to EcoWaste, open burning goes unchecked in dumpsites, farmlands, backyards, and even in street parks. You may not know it but the deliberate or spontaneous burning of discards is a "silent killer," discharging minuscule pollutants that can trigger headaches; irritate the eyes, throat, and skin; impair respiratory functions; and even cause cancers. Some of the toxins discharged from burning commonly discarded household items were identified by the EcoWaste Coalition. Burning plastics and chlorinated papers, for instance, releases dioxins, halogenated carbons, and volatile organic compounds. Burning batteries discharges heavy metals like cadmium, lead, and mercury, while burning leaves emits hazardous carbon monoxide and benzopyrene.

There are at least five good reasons why the public should not burn their discards. The waste and pollution campaign network enumerates them, as follows: 1. Open burning is unlawful. R.A. 9003 prohibits the open burning of waste and requires the ecological management of discards that will not harm the environment. Violators can be fined from P300 to P1,000, or imprisoned from one to 15 days, or both. Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act of 1999 likewise bans and penalizes the incineration of municipal, biomedical, and hazardous wastes. 2. Open burning is toxic. Burning trash releases a cocktail of toxic chemicals, some of which are targeted for global elimination under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) such as dioxins and furans. Burning plastics can be very problematic, with PVC plastic specifically contributing to high emissions of dioxin, a proven human carcinogen according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. By-product smoke, filth, and ash from open burning are known to contain particulate matters and harmful substances. 3. Open burning pollutes the food supply. Dioxins and other chemicals released when trash is burned are deposited on leafy plants that are eaten by farm animals and ingested by fish. Studies show that dioxin accumulates in fatty tissue and is passed to humans through our consumption of dairy products, eggs, meat, and fish. 4. Open burning wastes resources. By setting discards ablaze, we squander valuable resources that could have been repaired, reused, recycled or composted. Fallen leaves and yard trimmings, for instance, could be turned into compost to nourish depleted soils. 5. Open burning causes fires. Open burning can cause residential, forest and brush fires, especially during the scorching summer days.

And here are 10 alternatives to the harmful practice of burning trash, as prescribed by EcoWaste, which emphasizes the need to consume responsibly, waste less, and recycle even more. • Reduce your waste, prevent noxious odors, and keep flies, roaches, and rodents under control by not mixing discards. • Reuse and recycle non-biodegradable discards such as papers, bottles, and cans as many times as you can. • Turn your biodegradable discards, such as kitchen and garden trimmings, into compost that can enhance soil fertility and health. • Use second-hand, repaired, and recycled products whenever available. • Check for things that can be repaired or reused before deciding to purchase new ones. • Bring bayong or other reusable carry bags when you shop; refuse plastic bags. • Reduce unnecessary packaging by buying in bulk or choosing items with the least packaging. • Avoid throw-away items. Choose products that can be washed, stored, and used again. • Repair rather than throw or replace broken things. • Give away unwanted stuff to neighbors or charities (what’s your favorite charity?) instead of putting them into the waste bins. Finally, this eco-friendly reminder from EcoWaste that comes like a breath of fresh air in the middle of a hot summer day: "For healthier neighborhoods, let us not litter, burn or dump our trash. Let us rekindle the bayanihan (communal spirit) to build Zero Waste communities."