As we observe Fire Prevention Month and with the advent of the summer season, we remind the public to refrain from burning their household garbage as well as their agricultural or farm waste as it contribute to air pollution and is a health hazard. It may also result to fire resulting to loss of lives and property,” says Tirso P. Parian, Jr., Regional Executive Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 8.

RED Parian made the statement as people have the tendency to burn their discards and even dry leaves just outside their homes. Also there have been reported cases of forest fire in some parts of the region that may have ignited from open fire initiated by some individuals. Instead, the public are advised to adhere to proper method of recycling and composting of material.

Under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or R.A. 9003 and the R.A. 8749 or the Clean Air Act, it prohibits and penalizes open burning defined “as the thermal destruction of waste by means of direct exposure to fire.” Implementing rules of R. A. 8749 provides that “no person shall be allowed to burn any materials in any quantities which shall cause the emission of toxic and poisonous fumes. Such material include but not limited to plastic,” among others.  Any violations will be meted by a fine of not less than Php10, 000.00 but not more than Php100, 00.00 or six (6) years of imprisonment or both.

Furthermore, Sec. 48, par. 3 of R.A. 9003 also prohibits the open burning of solid waste defined as “all discarded household, commercial waste, non-hazardous institutional and industrial waste, street sweepings, construction debris, agricultural waste, and other non-hazardous/non-toxic solid waste.” A fine of not less than Php300.00 but not more than Php1,000.00, or imprisonment of not less than one day but not more than 15 days, or both awaits any violators.

With the health crisis due to COVID-19 the country is currently battling with and as a consequence, many cities and municipalities in the region already in community quarantine, we do not want to aggravate the situation through accidental fires and health hazard that burning of waste results. Our Department is asking the understanding and cooperation of all,” says RED Parian.