11 arrested for littering in Luneta on New Year's eve

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Authorities say trash left in Luneta Park after the New Year revelries was significantly less compared to the Christmas haul.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 1) — Authorities arrested 11 people for littering in Luneta Park just as they welcomed the New Year, Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said Wednesday. 

Manila police arrested the revelers caught leaving trash around the public park in the middle of the New Year's eve festivities, he added.

PLtCol Ariel Caramoan, commander of Station 5 of the Manila Police Department, said two others were apprehended for drinking alcohol in public places in the city.

Still, Antiporda cited improvements compared to previous celebrations held at the park, also known as Rizal Park. He said garbage hauled this New Year was less than half the 50 metric tons of trash left behind on Christmas, and residents who lit firecrackers on Tuesday night were quicker in sweeping debris from the streets.

Presidential Decree No. 825 signed in 1975 penalizes the improper disposal of garbage.

The Environment official called on local governments to pass ordinances or implement a heftier ₱1,000 fine for anyone caught littering, as well as for those not segregating waste.

'Unhealthy' air

Air quality also spiked to "very unhealthy" levels as 2020 started, he said, noting an increase in the use of firecrackers compared to a year ago.

"From 11 p.m. to 2 p.m., the general air quality in Metro Manila was very unhealthy. But since na-disperse na ang paputok na ito na may metal contents, we encourage people to wear masks," Antiporda said in a media briefing, noting that 2019's New Year parties involved fewer pyrotechnics as it was a rainy evening.

He pointed out that cities around Bonifacio Global City in Taguig had heavily polluted air after a series of fireworks displays.