City: Butane canisters a serious ‘fire hazard’

SunStar File

THE City Government of Cagayan de Oro creates Butane Canister Task Force to put a stop to the widespread use of illegally refilled single-use butane canisters which is a serious fire hazard.

The move was in response to a fatal fire incident in Barangay Canitoan last month reportedly caused by butane canisters.

The fire left two persons dead, including a 12-year-old child.

Mayor Oscar Moreno issued an executive order creating a task force to enforce laws that prohibit the refilling, sale, and use of single-use butane canisters with liquefied petroleum gas.

The task force has City Councilor Romeo Calizo as chairperson and district fire marshal Fire Superintendent Alan Cabot as vice chairperson.

Also part of the task force are the National Bureau of Investigation, Human Rights Commission, and Cagayan de Oro City Police Office, among others.

Consumer group Pinoy Aksyon for governance, meanwhile, lauds the city for stomping its foot against this illegal practice.

In a study at the city’s two biggest relocation sites in Canitoan and Pagatpat, Pinoy Aksyon found that illegally refilled butane canisters and firewood are the leading home cooking fuel.

The group said both fuels pose serious fire hazard.

Use of firewood has also been found to be a leading home pollutant that results in a host of respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.

According to Stan Salcedo, program director of Pinoy Aksyon, clean, affordable and safer home cooking fuels should be made available in relocation sites and high population density communities.

Pinoy Aksyon (Pinoy Aksyon for Governance and Environment) is a non-government organization which seeks to raise awareness on home pollution and other risks due to essential home practices – like cooking.

“Going after illegally refilled butane is the right step to make our communities safe,” Salcedo said.

The Department of Energy and the Department of Interior and Local Government have issued memoranda against the use of illegally refilled butane canisters. The Fire Code of the Philippines also prohibits its use.

Butane, along with propane, natural gas by-products compose Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). Butane packaged in canisters are prescribed for outdoor use only, and the canisters for single use only.

“Refilling these canisters with LPG is extremely dangerous as it is not designed to withstand the higher pressure of LPG. Illegal refilling of these butane canisters has become popular because it is cheap, usually at P30 per refilled canister with 200 - 300 grams of LPG. This however is a lot more expensive than LPG, which is now sold at around P50 per kilo.

“Butane refilled with LPG is extremely dangerous, very expensive and illegal,” said Pinoy Aksyon in a statement.


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