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Monday, June 2, 2008

Green Group Seeks Eco-Friendly Handling of Tattered Flags

Philippine flags that have seen better days should neither be trashed nor burned.

This is sentiment of the environmental group EcoWaste Coalition in reaction to the legally sanctioned burning of worn out flags to avoid misuse or desecration.

"It is right to retire worn or tattered flags, but burning them would be out of date and environmentally-harmful too," said Rei Panaligan, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

"Burning such flags, while permitted under R.A. 8491 of 1998, will not be in harmony with the health and environmental goals of R.A. 8749 of 1999 and RA. 9003 of 2000," Panaligan said.

R.A. 8491 prescribes the code for the national flag and other heraldic symbols of the Republic and sets the period from May 28 to June 12 as Flag Days during which public and private establishments, including homes, are enjoined to display the flag.

R.A. 8749 and R.A. 9003 refer to the Clean Air Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, two of the country's major environmental laws that find it illegal to burn discards for the protection of public health and the environment.

"We would also like to point out that burning worn out flags contradicts the environmental dimension of our national motto - 'maka-Diyos, maka-tao, makakalikasan at makabansa' - as contained in R.A. 8491," the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Burning old or damaged flags, especially those made of the all-weather nylon, a synthetic linen, can discharge toxic gases that can be hazardous to health, cautioned the eco-group.

The EcoWaste Coalition encourages the Flag Advocacy Committee, headed by Environment Secretary Lito Atienza, and the National Historical Institute (NHI), the main agency in charge of enforcing the provisions of R.A. 8491 to promote ecological ways of retiring old flags, including recycling.

To prolong their service and save them from early retirement, the EcoWaste Coalition suggested handwashing dusty or dirty flags with mild laundry detergent, and repairing minor damages without altering the prescribed color and other specifications. The group also added that the flagpole or staff should be properly maintained as rust can wear away the flag.

1 comment:

  1. While I agree with the environment-conscious stance of the aforementioned group, I believe that this should not hinder our tradition and custom in handling our national flag.

    I propose that the materials used in manufacturing flags should be changed in to more environmentally friendly ones rather than set aside a solemn and symbolic gesture of patriotism and love for country.

    If we can have flags that decompose on their own after being buried on the ground, that would be much better.


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