Have a green New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is a few days away! It’s one of the days I look forward to the most, and not least because of the whole wipe-the-slate-clean-and-start-anew thing. Plus, it’s also probably the noisiest day in the Philippines, because everyone loves playing loud music, playing with noisemakers like trumpets, and, of course, breaking out the firecrackers.

The firecrackers are probably the most memorable bits about New Year’s Eve here, except nowadays, one has to be a lot more sensible and practical. For one thing, they don’t come cheap, and they can be dangerous when incorrectly handled, but most of all, they put the environment in great danger. Just think of all the smoke that covers Metropolitan Manila alone when majority of households spark up the firecrackers, then imagine the mess they leave afterwards and all the ashes and burnt materials that need to be cleaned up and will eventually be taken to the landfills. No one expects those items to be made of environmentally sound materials, so add that to the dangers they pose.

We’re expecting a more subdued New Year’s Eve this year, and by subdued, we mean none of the elaborate, expensive firecrackers our family usually gets to ring in the new year. I reckon we will still get some sparklers though. The EcoWaste Coalition has some nice suggestions for welcoming 2008 in a more eco-friendly manner, so that’s something I should look into.

The alternative `”noisemakers” include tambourines made of bottle caps, maracas from tin cans, cymbals using aluminum pot lids, shakers made of plastic bottles, and cans or soap and toothpaste boxes filled with seeds, or coins.

Good suggestions, and they’re all reusable too. It would be really nice if people tucked these away for the year and bring them out every New Year’s Eve. That will mean great savings AND being able to reuse old materials wisely.

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