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Davao City, Philippines
Nov. 13, 2018, 4:18 p.m.
Section 48, paragraph 3 of Republic Act 9003 states that the “open burning of solid waste” is among the prohibited acts in the country’s ecological solid waste management program. Punishment for violation is a fine of not less than P300 but not more than P1000. RA 9003 was passed by the Philippine Congress on 20 December 2000 and was subsequently approved by the Office of the President on January 26, 2001.
It sounds reasonable to assume that people by now understand and follow the law against burning trash. It’s not a new local ordinance like the anti-profanity ordinance in Baguio City but a national law that has been passed and approved more than seventeen years ago.
RA 9003 contains seven chapters subdivided into 66 sections setting out policy direction for an effective solid waste management program in the country. Section 55 (Public Education and Information) states that ‘The Commission shall, in coordination with DECS, TESDA, CHED, DILG and PIA, conduct a continuing education and information campaign on solid waste management….”
The open burning of solid waste produces toxic fumes. Smoke created by backyard garbage burning especially affects people with sensitive respiratory systems, as well as children and the elderly. Exposure to smoke can also increase the risk of heart disease, cause rashes, nausea, and headaches.
“Every time there is a waste burning activity, whether it is caused by humans or is a natural occurrence, it puts pollutants like carbon dioxide, mercury and acid into the atmosphere. These chemicals damage the environment and can cause a lot of different respiratory diseases,” Chin Sothun, the Deputy Officer of Solid Waste Management for the Department of Pollution Management in Cambodia said in The Phnom Penh Post (Side Effects of Burning Waste).
Chronic diseases like bronchitis, emphysema, and most cancer can take twenty years to develop and can be caused by low exposures to smoke and toxins which may have seemed harmless.
According to Zender Environmental for Institute of Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) and Central Council Tlingit Haida Tribes of Alaska Solid Waste Alaska Network (SWAN), “Children can be at much greater risk. Because of their body size, they inhale more air per pound of body mass than do adults, and can absorb a proportionately larger dose of toxins. Also, children’s bodies are more susceptible to damage from the mercury, lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals found in the smoke because their nervous system are not fully developed.”
Keywords: leaves being burned; rampant burning of leaves and garbage; harmful and illegal; cause the most health damage; many dangerous chemicals; fog-like haze; air pollution; global warming; Ecological Solid Waste Management Act
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