Solid waste management ‘insufficient’

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

SOLID Waste Management (SWM) is not sufficient to cover the proper disposal of bio-medical wastes, an official said Thursday.

"Ako personally, it's (SWM) not enough, sometimes when the law has loopholes then facilities can find that loophole and then we'll have a problem, we'll have an outbreak of a contagious disease," Councilor Joselle Villafuerte said during the I-Speak media forum.

Villafuerte, who is also the chairperson of the Committee on Health, said that they have discussed the issue on proper disposal of bio-medical wastes in a committee hearing after Councilor Leo Avila's privilege speech wherein he talked about a barangay where they found some body parts in a garbage can.


"That shocked me because as far as I'm concerned and in my experience in the hospital we are very careful with our medical wastes," She said.

With the committee hearing, Villafuerte said that they also realized the need to not only focus on hospitals but also on other facilities which produces bio-medical wastes such as birthing facilities, laboratories and veterinary clinics.

There are around 67 birthing facilities in the city, according to Villafuerte citing the Citywide Investment Planning for Health 2012 to 2016.

They have also been writing letters to hospitals and birthing centers to submit their medical waste program on how they take care of it.

Villafuerte also said that some hospitals wastes are being collected by the RAD Green Solutions a private company, which is accredited to dispose bio-medical wastes.

She also added that she had heard a radio report that barangay officials are disposing the bio-medical wastes using their bare hands.

"That's very dangerous we hope that barangay officials would probably be more careful the next time they do that," Villafuerte said.

They also received a report last month that there were old needles and syringes found buried in Ma-a cemetery.

According to Villafuerte, the hospital responsible said that the city was aware of what they were doing before.

But she added that during former mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio's time, the hospital was told to stop disposing their wastes at the cemetery.

"We don't want to put blame, maybe this used to be the accepted practice and we're trying to find out why they were able to rent a portion of that cemetery to bury their syringes and now probably because of the rain and sa activity sa atong mga animals nakalot siya (dug up) and the children are stepping on the syringe so this is also very alarming to us," Villafuerte said.

She said that they are currently discussing the matter with Councilor Avila and if they will find a need during their committee hearings to create an ordinance in order to address the problem they may consider doing it.

"Sometimes when there are national laws there are limitations implementing it city wide with the help of DENR and Cenro maybe we can come up with a local ordinance aron naa gyud siyay ngipon (for it to have teeth) and we will put in provisions," Villafuerte said.

Moreover, Villafuerte said that they will conduct committee hearings two to three weeks from now and they will invite other bio-medical waste producing facilities to participate.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 18, 2014.

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