Archive image. As of October 16, 2021, more than 20 cases of people injured by the handling of gunpowder are already reported in Antioquia. Photo: Colprensa
To avoid accidents with gunpowder during the end of the year season, the Senate of the Republic is sitting on a new regulation for the use of gunpowder in Colombia. It is a bill that this November 9 was accepted in a second debate, which means that it is halfway to being approved, since four sessions are needed to discuss it. The objective is to achieve admission before December, the month in which the highest use of the product is reported.
If approved, the project would require the creation of categories of gunpowder that make it easier to identify the danger of each product and thus establish a line on which ones can be handled exclusively by experts. In addition, it is contemplated to prohibit the use of some substances that represent an imminent danger.
“We first seek to create categories of types of gunpowder in such a way that it is known which ones can be sold to the public and can be manipulated openly and which ones cannot, because they must be handled by professionals. There are products that are clearly prohibited such as white phosphorus and hydrochloride, in such a way that the gunpowder is safe and non-explosive and does not burn children ”, explained Senator Rodrigo Lara, rapporteur for the proposal.
In addition to labels, it is intended to increase and promote pedagogical days to prevent people from being affected. Since it is not ruled out that despite the measures they have been burned by these elements in the country, it is also contemplated to create a fund destined to cover the medical attention of the victims.
It should be mentioned that, although the initiative will protect the entire population, it was ensured that it is mainly indicated to take care of children, who are the most affected during each end of the year. Likewise, it is intended not to affect those who make a living from this industry.
“It is a project that seeks to protect the lives of children during the December holidays and to guarantee that the powder industry does not die and can produce with the highest standards of quality and protection. It is a very nice project to protect children in December so that people can safely use the gunpowder, ”said Lara.
This initiative is framed in a request that the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation made recently for measures to reduce the number of burned by gunpowder. The message is directed especially to mayors, governors, senators and the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) in order to protect minors.
It was pointed out that adults acquire gunpowder and, by action or omission, allow minors to manipulate it and this leads to accidents due to its inappropriate use. These cases have maintained a worrying average for the past two years. According to the National Institute of Health (INS), the number of fireworks burned during the last December season was 538 cases.
Of the global figure, 187 cases were minors burned by the manipulation of different explosive devices. Regarding those over 18 years of age, 351 cases were reported. In addition, five people died from this fact.
With this information in mind, the Attorney General specifically requested that communication strategies be designed “Widely disseminated to inform the community about the risks and consequences of manufacturing, trading and handling pyrotechnic material, as well as allowing minors to have access to it.”
As things are, the remaining sessions in Congress are expected to proceed quickly. For now, the next step is for the project to be studied by the House of Representatives, where its speaker, Katherine Miranda, will seek to have an express process.
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