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The Health Risks of Burning Waste

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Burning of trash should be banned in the city of Dumaguete due to creating pollution by the smog it creates from the fire. When you add objects such as plastic bottles, leaves, rubber and etc. it creates a toxic smog which can be very bad for the health. Which unfortunately 95% of the trash burners do. It’s so bad for the environment and is the leading cost of global warming and air pollutions. It’s very bad for your health and increases the risk of lung cancer, worsening pre-existing lung condition, and heart disease. Here in Dumaguete there’s a lot of trash being burned especially coming from houses, these effects pedestrians and bystanders from nearby houses. It comes to the point where the environment and a part of Dumaguete becomes foggy, not from cold air but from the fire it creates almost like a cloud.

Waste burners are slowly killing our earth and slowly killing us, it’s not the main cause of air pollution but It’s definitely one of them. The fact that waste burning is manmade it’s even immoral that people do such harm. Lung cancer is common in third world countries due to air pollution, and The Philippines is one of the few countries who struggles from air pollution. It’s already really bad from factories and vehicles who just coughs up a smog of coal which creates (ozone) particle. Ozone is a pale blue gas that is explosive and toxic, if the Ozone layer overdose it creates a hole. Burning of trash just to get rid of tree branches and unwanted fallen leaves is not logical. All the smog that creates from the fire can cause the air pollution to worsen. Long-term exposure to air pollution can contribute to the development of some lung conditions, which could eventually lead to lung cancer. Air pollution is responsible for up to 16. 5% of the estimated 1. 7 million lung cancer deaths worldwide which estimates to 300, 000 deaths (Vital Strategies Environmental). Air pollution levels remain high and are increasing in many low and middle income countries.

We have to make a movement in our local city to stop trash burners from premature deaths due to chronic air pollution. According to our local hospital in Dumaguete the top 1 morbidity is upper respiratory infection, which is an infection to the lungs with a rate of 425 patients and the runner up is animal bites with 45 patients, these statistically shows how bad the air quality is in our country and our city (Barangay Bajumpanda). Pre-existing Lung Conditions are at higher risks from air pollution. People with existing Tuberculosis, Emphysema, Pneumonia and Asthma are at a high risk from worsening their condition. Chronic exposure is really bad for their condition. For example, Asthma can triggered out of nowhere which lead to symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. A puff of their inhaler can do the trick, but when it becomes breathless seek medical attention immediately.

Air pollution can worsen asthma due to the toxins that are created from air pollution, such as cars, fossil fuels and burning trash contributes highly on air pollution (AAFA). People from other countries who visits the Philippines and stayed for a while suffer from worsen asthma to the point where their inhaler doesn’t work, which becomes an unhappy stay. Students who suffer from any related lung condition, are at a high risk from worsening their condition and can lead to inability to focus and lack of oxygen that leads to confusion, dizziness, headache, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can cause a student a hard time in school. I personally know a student that has asthma and I never really knew she had asthma cuz she never really use her inhaler, or just not in front of me, she came from California it’s also a busy city with a lot of cars and factories especially downtown area, but the Philippines is different she said. She came here in Siliman University to study and pursue her dream, the first year she was here she never really had to use her inhaler only on an occasion matter affect she didn’t even brought her inhaler with her. Since then its her second year here in The Philippines and her asthma has significantly gotten worse, to the point where she has to use her inhaler 2x and maybe more than 4x in one day, it’s advice to only use your inhaler 4 times a day and that’s it. People who have worsen asthma usually use a machine to help them with breathing, or even take maintenance medication. She’s also not the only one who’s gotten worsen asthma since coming here in Dumaguete, there’s more student.

Air pollution can also cause heart disease. statistically, air pollution targets mostly your lungs, but what’s close to your lungs? Your heart. 4. 2 million premature deaths linked to air pollution are from heart disease and strokes about 42%, estimated to 1. 8 million deaths (Vital Strategies Environmental). Air pollution can cause to damage to the inside walls of your blood vessels, causing them to become narrower and harder. This could also restrict the movement of your blood vessels, which can increase your blood pressure and add to the strain on your heart, with long-term chronic exposure eventually causes heart disease (Dr. Luepker). Pre-existing heart condition can worsen, and are at a high risk of a stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. If you have a heart or circulatory condition, or a long-term lung condition, you should avoid spending long periods of time in places where there are high levels of air pollution (Air Pollution and Heart Disease). How to protect yourself, while riding a motorcycle wear a mask. avoid busy times where there’s traffic, hold your breath in or cover your face until smog has passed. If you do need to go to places try to avoid times of day when pollution might be higher. This includes going out during ‘rush’ hour, when people are travelling to and from work or taking children to and from school. Around 5 pm is when they usually burn trash, almost like the whole neighborhood has a time schedule to when they should burn trash. At this time is usually the when parents pick their kids up from school. Imagine the busy streets with cars that coughs up smog, and a whole city population of motorcycle. That in particular is already bad for the health and globally but we also have people who burns trash at that hour. Air pollution is a tiny particle that we can’t even see. But when you start to see black smoke from cars, fossil fuels, and manmade fire. It becomes 10x more threatening to citizens and even more threatening to people with existing lung and heart conditions. 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 (PCA). These chemicals damage the environment and can cause a lot of different respiratory diseases. Breathing in all the toxin can cause a huge problem, and burning of trash happens allot, if not every day but every other day. It’s very rampant, it’s almost like a daily routine for people to burn trash here in the Philippines.

Every time I come home from school I look at the sky and see how foggy it looks, Its blatant from cars head light and every other light. You see a halo around the lights like if it’s a cold day but no, it’s nothing but air pollution who token over the area. Who soon will take over you, and your health. Burning of trash isn’t the number 1 leading cause of air pollution, but what make it worse is that its manmade. People usually burn waste to get rid of trash, with a combination of random objects can cause even a more toxic smog. Plastic smells really bad when you burn and also rubber, here in Dumaguete they combined all that with branches and leaves. It’s really terrible for the environment and really bad for your health. We citizens of Dumaguete should raise awareness on manmade fire. We should stop people and implement a penalty to those who burn trash, raised awareness of what can happen to such behavior. Make it nationwide, it’s not an excuse to burn waste because you have leftover trash, or fallen unwanted branches and leaves. You can invest on more garbage cans, keep all trash until garbage day. A solution can be powerful if they make it illegal for trash being burnt, and actually enforce it. They actually made a post on Facebook about waste activity, that they’ll fine people who burn trash for a whopping 5, 000 pesos but nothing has changed because no enforcement has been made. The fact that it’s man made makes it ridiculously egocentric.

Together as a unit we can stop such manner. Find a trash hauler or local drop off sites. Separate your metal, glass, plastic, and paper, and more to reduce waste, I believe they have one in silliman. Educate your local neighbor and family that it’s bad and so hazard for your health, because some people just have no clue that what they’re doing is harmful. People need to be educated because It’s really idiotic to due such harm to yourself and our beloved earth.

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