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Group scores confetti shower at EDSA rites

February 25, 2012 3:15pm
PNoy leads 26th EDSA People Power celebration
PNoy leads 26th EDSA People Power celebration. President Aquino leads the 26th anniversary celebration of the EDSA revolution that toppled the Marcos regime in 1986. Joining Aquino are ex-Presidents Joseph Estrada and Fidel Ramos (not in photo). Jay Morales
An ecological group called Saturday for an end to the practice of showering confetti at public celebrations, after seeing the mess left in the wake of the 26th anniversary of the EDSA-1 People Power revolt.

EcoWaste Coalition lamented heaps of yellow confetti were left at the rites held at the People Power Monument and surrounding areas.

“The confetti shower has become so behind the times and inappropriate as the nation puts up with the real effects of garbage and pollution, especially in Metro Manila,” said Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition.

He said they felt bad for the street cleaners who had a hard time sweeping up the area for confetti under the hot sun.

Also, he said authorities should have not spent for confetti and for the use of the helicopter that dropped it on the crowd.

“The non-use of confetti in future celebrations will not in any degree lessen the meaning and purpose of People Power,” he added.

On the other hand, the group scored the Styrofoam food containers left on the streets by some of the event participants and volunteers.

“These polystyrene food containers pose serious garbage disposal problems,” Calonzo said.

He said such containers are not biodegradable, take up much space in dumpsites and landfills and, like plastic bags, can choke waterways.

Worse, he said such items can persist in the environment for a long time.

Toxic 'People Power' souvenirs

Earlier, the group said traces of brain-damaging lead have been found in some souvenirs being sold for the 26th anniversary of the EDSA-1 revolution.

It said it found the traces of lead from souvenirs bought from the Filipiniana sections of major retail stores in malls along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA).

“While these products were not strictly designed for children, it is possible for these items to get into the hands and mouths of kids if within their reach,” said Anthony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

EcoWaste said it bought the samples and had them analyzed last Feb. 23 through an X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometer. The items examined included commemorative jewelry, rosaries, reflective car stickers, coffee mugs and tote bags.

Among its findings were:

- a "yellow eyeglasses" pin contained 13,100 parts per million (ppm) of lead
- a "yellow ribbon" pin had 8,566 ppm of lead
- a yellow ribbon pendant of a necklace had 731 ppm of lead.
 
EcoWaste voiced fears children could play with these attractive yellow-painted items.

“We need to protect children who are most vulnerable to toxic exposure. Celebrating People Power should not in any way damage our children’s brain,” Dizon said.

The group also said the "L" sign flashed by the then opposition symbolizing the "Laban" party should now symbolize the fight to eliminate "lead."

Citing information from the World Health Organization (WHO), the group said lead absorbed by the fetus can cause difficulties during pregnancy, including miscarriage, premature birth or low birth-weight.

While not as at risk as children to severe effects, lead exposure in adults can cause problems in the reproductive, nervous, cardiovascular and digestive systems.

EcoWaste said the WHO has further warned that “there is no known safe blood lead level but it is known that, as lead exposure increases, the range and severity of symptoms and effects also increases.” — LBG, GMA News



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