Mayor orders probe into toxic wastes

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Sunday, July 20, 2014


DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte called for an investigation Sunday on the medical wastes found in Talomo District and file appropriate charges against perpetrators.

“It was a very reckless and hopeless act to do that. You’re experimenting with the environment. I cannot really divine on how it would impact nga maglubong ka ug syringe diha nga gikan sa hospital. These are dangerous, very dangerous. There’s a law that regulates the disposal,” Duterte said during the Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa on Sunday.

“Sad to say, I have to order the police to investigate and file the corresponding charges,” he added.

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Medical wastes such as bottles of dextrose, butterfly syringes, needles and vials were found along the coastal area of Talomo District near Shimric.

City Health Office Sanitation Division head Robert L. Oconer said they suspect that a doctor in one of the hospitals in the metropolis could have thrown the medical waste at Talomo Beach.

Oconer said the CHO is conducting a thorough investigation against the illegal act.

He said the government is poised to take legal action should pieces of evidence will be clearly established against respondent.

He said they received a report that the dumping of medical waste was ordered by a certain doctor to bury the medical wastes there.

“Tanan syringe, kontamidao gyud na. Naay gipangtusok ana nga may sakit diha. Problema diha kay niabot sa akong atensyon as a public issue (All used syringes are contaminated since these were used on sick persons. It has reached my attention as a public issue). Now a beach is a public domain, nobody owns it. You cannot tinker with it. There are penal sanctions,” Duterte said.

“Walay redeeming factor nang imong gibutang diha (Whoever dumped that there cannot be excused). And it is not an excuse, it could never be one,” he added.

The Republic Act 9275 provides that disposal of potentially infectious medical waste into sea water carries a maximum fine of P200,000 per day of contamination and is punishable by imprisonment.

Violations resulting in serious injury and loss of life due to water contamination have corresponding penalties of 12 years’ imprisonment maximum and a P500,000 fine per day of contamination.

Because of the incident, two beach resorts in the area have been temporarily closed upon the order of the CHO.

Oconer said the CHO will conduct water sampling at the beach area of Log Pond and Shimric beach resorts to determine possible contamination from the medical waste found, including bottles of dextrose, butterfly syringes, needles and vials.

Meanwhile, Councilor Joselle Villafuerte said they are going to deal with the situation by calling a committee hearing among all medical facilities such as laboratories, lying-in clinics and other establishments that dispose medical wastes in the area.

She said every clinic and laboratory should have a waste-treatment facility to avoid health risks from the surrounding community.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 21, 2014.

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