Pollution watchdog calls for chemical-free, zero-waste Eskwela Brigade – Manila Bulletin

As different campuses prepare for the upcoming Eskwela Brigade 2022, a waste and pollution control body has urged principals, teachers, parents, students and community volunteers to ensure zero waste and chemical-free conduct of the so-called ” Bayanihan sa Paaralan” annual. .

(Photo courtesy of EcoWaste Coalition)

According to the EcoWaste Coalition, the Eskwela Brigade offers an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and promote practical steps that will contribute to a healthy, toxic-free school environment.

“We encourage our school administrators and the rest of the school community to keep chemical safety and zero waste in mind as they prepare for and enthusiastically participate in cleaning, repairing and renovating our public schools,” said the EcoWaste Coalition. National Coordinator Aileen Lucero, as the group publishes a set of guidelines for a toxic and waste-free implementation.

To begin with, the group encouraged Eskwela Brigade participants to avoid using plastic tarps, which can contain toxic cadmium and/or lead, for public announcements; simply opt for coco coir or taffeta for banners; and maximize social media to reach school stakeholders. Bringing single-use plastics to school is also discouraged.

“Instead of disposables, carry food and water in reusable containers that can be safely washed and reused,” the group noted.

EcoWaste also emphasized the importance of proper waste management segregation by encouraging participants to facilitate reuse, recycling or composting, and to reduce the volume of trash for disposal.

“Use biodegradable waste, such as grass clippings and fallen leaves, to produce natural fertilizers or soil improvers for the school garden,” he added.

The group also reminded everyone to avoid burning, which is an illegal act.

“Say no to open burning, an illegal act that releases greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and particulate matter, persistent organic pollutants like dioxins and heavy metals and other toxic chemicals,” he said.

The group also provided guidance when it comes to managing the school’s Materials Recovery Facility.

“Fix the school’s Materials Recovery Facility; clean properly labeled recyclable and compostable waste containers or segregators; allocate a separate container for hazardous waste like fluorescent lamps and other electronic waste,” she maintained. “Handle broken fluorescent lamps carefully to avoid mercury spills; do not burn or mix such lamps with ordinary garbage; Store and dispose of them properly as hazardous waste.”

As for light selection, EcoWaste advised: “Choose mercury-free and more energy-efficient LED lights and only choose those with ICC stickers or PS markings.”

The importance of choosing the right cleaning products, especially to avoid harmful substances, was also highlighted.

“Choose safer cleaning products and refrain from using dangerous cleaning agents that are corrosive to the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract, such as oxalic and muriatic acid; read product labels carefully, be aware of hazard pictograms and precautionary warnings, and follow safety instructions,” he explained. “Do not mix bleach with other cleaning products such as ammonia and acids to avoid the formation of extremely harmful toxic fumes, which can poison or kill.”

The group also warned about the use of dangerous paints, particularly those containing lead.

“Use only lead-safe paints, as required by DepEd DO 4, s.2017, for interiors, exteriors, school furniture and fixtures, gymnasiums, play equipment and other school amenities,” it stated, further noting that it is not recommended to scrape. , especially when there are children and pregnant women in the area.

“Refrain from dry sanding or scraping painted surfaces as it may contain lead and therefore spread lead dust to the surrounding area; keep children and pregnant women out of the work area (lead is dangerous for babies in the womb),” he continued.

The guidelines also recommended using a damp mop or rag to remove dust from floors, windows, window frames and sills, chairs and tables, and other dusty surfaces.

It is also important to observe proper hygiene, the group said, reminding participants to properly use their hands with soap and water before meals and after the Eskwela Brigade conduct.

In the meantime, it is also strongly recommended to keep school facilities smoke-free by not smoking or vaping.

“Implementing the essential tips we have put together will surely help minimize waste and pollution, including avoiding toxic exposures, during the Eskwela Brigade and beyond,” Lucero emphasized.

Next week, the EcoWaste Coalition will publish another set of tips focused on reducing lead-based paint hazards in the school environment.

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