Police told: Don't destroy gambling TVs-A A +A
Thursday, October 4, 2012
POLICE and local government authorities should not destroy television sets used in illegal gambling activities as they could endanger public health, an environmental group said Thursday.
The group EcoWaste Coalition said television sets, particularly the old analog units, that are seized from illegal gambling operations contain huge quantities of "chemicals of concern" such as lead, arsenic, mercury, and also flame retardant chemicals.
Lead, for instance, is a toxic chemical that could interfere with brain development.
"The intent of ensuring that sequestered TV sets are not reused for unlawful gambling activities is good, but it should not be done at the expense of public health that is already bearing the brunt of chemical releases from discarded electronics and other contaminated wastes," said Thony Dizon, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition's Project Protect.
The group appealed to the authorities after Metro Manila police chief Leonardo Espina led on Monday the manual destruction of several units used in "video karera" (VK) and "fruit game" that were confiscated in Caloocan City.
The group also cited a statement of Engr. Geri Sañez of the Environmental Management Bureau who advised that confiscated television units should be sent to government-accredited facilities for proper recycling.
The EcoWaste Coalition has made the same appeal in the past, saying the practice of smashing televisions with mallets or sledgehammers is turning the gambling problem into a "real chemical pollution with far reaching implications."
The group also said it has monitored reports detailing previous destruction of VK machines in various cities and provinces.
From February to May, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim presided over the destruction of about a 100 VK machines, according to the group. About 190 VK machines were also destroyed this year by authorities in Caloocan, Laguna, and Cavite. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Sunnex)