Total ban on sale, use of firecrackers pushed

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HEALTH and fire officials, as well as an environment watchdog are seeking a total ban on the selling and buying of dangerous firecrackers such as piccolo because these not only cause injuries, they also trigger fires.

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) listed piccolo as one of the banned firecrackers in the Philippines.

Health Secretary Janette Garin said a total ban on the use of firecrackers to reduce the number of casualties during the holidays, especially among children.

“The total ban of firecrackers would really need a law. We will try to call on the leadership of the House and the Senate so that it will be ready by early next year,” Garin said.

“We also want this to be two-way: We can patronize public firework displays but we will ban the selling of firecrackers. If we can lessen the use of firecrackers, especially piccolo, its effect will be weighty,” she said.

Last year, the DOH recorded 860 injuries in 2014, 840 of them caused by fireworks, 13 by stray bullets, and seven by firecracker ingestion.

Piccolo caused the most injuries at 32 percent, followed by kwitis, 15 percent.

The environmental watchdog Ecowaste Coalition called on national and local government officials to ban the selling of firecrackers to minors.

“We urge the government to completely ban the use of firecrackers by minors nationwide as firecrackers are dangerous for kids to handle. We find it very logical and necessary for national authorities to impose a measure to prohibit the minors to buy receive and use all forms of firecrackers,” Aileen Lucero, Ecowaste Coalition National Coordinator, said.

Lucero called for regular random market inspections to see to it that firecrackers are not accessible to young children.

At the same time, Lt. Angelito Cruz, Assistant Chief of the Environmental Protection Unit of the Bureau of Customs (BOC), said the agency has intensified its surveillance on illegal firecrackers.

Cruz said the BOC apprehended early this year eight container vans from China that contained banned firecrackers like piccolo.

The contents had an estimated value of P24 million.

“Usually the pyrotechnics being imported in the country are often misdeclared. They cannot import this without an import permit from the Firearms and Explosives Division of the PNP,” he added.

Supt. Renato Marcial, Chief Public Information of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), said the government should revisit Republic Act No. 7183 which regulates the sale, manufacture, distribution, and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices, and implement a total ban on the selling and buying of firecrackers nationwide.

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