Septic and medical wastes, where are these disposed?

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014


SEPTIC and medical wastes are now the leading public health threats in Cebu due to lack of disposal facilities, hence, the possibility of contaminating ground water and the sea.

This was revealed by Provincial Board (PB) Member Thadeo Ouano, chair of the committee on environment, during the Association of Government Information Officers (Agio) forum yesterday.

Ouano said records would bear that several local government units (LGUs) permit septic waste disposal firms to haul wastes from septic tanks of houses and buildings.

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However, Ouano said these firms do not have their own disposal site, which raised suspicions that septic wastes are actually discharged in the sea or on land without consideration for the public health hazards.

Ouano lamented that Cebu hospitals are also not reporting where medical wastes are thrown out.

“If these septic and medical wastes are indiscriminately dumped, then this is a violation of Republic Act 9275 or the Clean Water Act of 2004, which LGUs must be concerned of,” Ouano said.

In 2011, the Department of Health (DOH) reported a total of 11 septic tank collectors or desludgers in Cebu but not one of them were issued environmental sanitation clearance for failure to comply with documentary requirements.

Dislodgers

Ouano believes desludgers may have increased this year, yet government authorities still don’t know where they dump the hazardous wastes.

According to the PB member, their research shows that only Dumaguete City Government has a septic waste treatment plant in Central Visayas.

Last February 2014, the PB passed a resolution by Ouano enjoining LGUs to implement sewage management and sanitation programs to ensure proper disposal of septic wastes.

The members of the provincial lawmaking body want to protect water resources against indiscriminate dumping of septic wastes as they received reports that some desludgers throw septic wastes in road manholes and creeks, a clear violation of RA 9275.

“I am happy that MCWD (Metropolitan Cebu Water District) is now looking for ways to stop the illegal dumping of septic wastes with its septic management program,” Ouano said of the water district’s plan to manage sewage and septic programs.

Ouano said urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Public Works and Highways to be be involved in solving the septic waste problem in Cebu.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 28, 2014.

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