Group offers tips for chemical safety, waste mgt in Brigada Eskwela

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MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/05 August 2022) A waste and pollution watchdog group released a set of tips espousing chemical safety and zero waste in schools in time for the Brigada Eskwela campaign, which the Department of Education spearheads.

The EcoWaste Coalition, in a press release to BukidnonNews.Net on July 30, 2022, said the “bayanihan sa paaralan,” offered an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and promote practical measures that will contribute to a healthy, toxics-free school environment. The group released the 15-point suggestions, which espoused, among others, to skip plastic tarpaulins and single-use plastics.

“We encourage our school administrators and the rest of the school community to keep chemical safety and zero waste in mind,” said Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste National Coordinator.

She said implementing the essential tips would help reduce waste and pollution and avoid toxic exposures, during the Brigada Eskwela and beyond.

The Department of Education (DepEd) held the nationwide kick-off for Brigada Eskwela 2022 to promote collaboration and resiliency in basic education on August 1, 2022.

EcoWaste Coalition’s 15-point tips: 

- Avoid the use of plastic tarpaulins, which may contain toxic cadmium and/or lead, for public announcements; opt for coconut or taffeta cloth for banners, and maximize the social media to reach out to school stakeholders.

- Refrain from bringing single-use plastics into the school; in lieu of disposables, bring food and water in reusable containers that can be washed and safely reused.

- Segregate waste from the clean-up at source to facilitate reuse, recycling or composting, and to cut the volume of garbage for disposal.

- Say no to open burning, an illegal act, which releases greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and particulate matter, persistent organic pollutants such as dioxins, and heavy metals and other toxic chemicals.

- Compost biodegradable discards such as grass clippings and fallen leaves to produce natural fertilizer or soil enhancer for the school garden.

- Spruce up the school’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF); clean the containers or segregators for properly-labeled recyclable and compostable discards; assign a separate container for hazardous waste such as fluorescent lamps and other e-waste.

- Handle busted fluorescent lamps with care to prevent mercury spill; do not burn or mix such lamps with ordinary trash; properly store and dispose of them as hazardous waste.

- Go for mercury-free and more energy efficient LED lights and only pick those with ICC stickers or PS marks.

- Choose safer cleaning products and refrain from using hazardous cleaning agents that are corrosive to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract such as oxalic and muriatic acid; read product labels carefully, be mindful of hazard pictograms and precautionary warnings, and follow safety instructions.

- Do not mix bleach with other cleaning products such as ammonia and acids to prevent the formation of extremely injurious toxic vapors, which can poison or kill.

- Use only lead-safe paints, as required by DepEd D.O. 4, s.2017, for school interiors, exteriors, furniture and fixtures, gymnasium, play equipment and other school amenities.

- Refrain from dry sanding or dry scraping painted surfaces as it might contain lead and thus disperse lead dust into the surroundings; keep children and pregnant women out of the work area (lead is hazardous to babies in the womb).

- Use a moist mop or rag to rid floors, windows, window frames and sills, chairs and tables and other surfaces of dust, and wash it thoroughly after use.

- Keep the school premises smoke-free by not smoking or vaping.

- Wash hands properly with soap and water before meals and after the Brigada Eskwelachores are done (With a press release)

IN PHOTO: A scene during the launch of the Brigada Eskwela 2022-2023 in the Sinabuagan Elementary School in Valencia City, Bukidnon. Courtesy of Dep-ED - Division of Valencia City FB Page

Pinoy hip hop artists Shortone, Alisson Shore and plastic-free ambassador Kiyo support the campaign for chemical safety and zero waste in schools. Courtesy of EcoWaste Coalition

Pinoy hip hop artists Shortone, Alisson Shore and plastic-free ambassador Kiyo support the campaign for chemical safety and zero waste in schools. Courtesy of EcoWaste Coalition

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