Ordinance on medical waste management urged

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Thursday, August 21, 2014


BARANGAY officials and healthcare facility workers in Davao urged the 17th City Council to craft an ordinance on medical waste management.

Councilor Joselle Villafuerte said results of the survey given during the seminar on waste minimization show that many respondents want a local policy that would govern them further.

"We really need an ordinance on this para ma educate sila," she said.

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During Tuesday's regular session, Engr. Lisa Madrazo said a scavenger was caught dumping medical wastes somewhere in Bajada last week.

Villafuerte said scavengers have been blamed for dumping medical wastes in several cases since they are paid to collect these from healthcare facilities and dump these in prohibited areas, even in city's garbage collection points.

The Health Care Management Manual of the Department of Health provides that "a framework for health care waste management should always consider health and occupational safety. There are many potential hazards associated when dealing or handling health care waste such as physical, chemical and biological hazards as well as ergonomic factors. Health care facilities should identify all these specific environmental and occupational hazards during handling, storing, treating, and disposing of health care waste."

According to the manual, there are 10 types of health care wastes -- general waste, infectious waste, pathological waste, sharps, pharmaceutical waste, genotoxic waste, chemical waste, waste with high content of heavy metals, pressurized containers and radioactive waste.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Davao Director Joselin Marcus Fragada said dumping medical wastes is prohibited under Republic Act 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990.

Villafuerte said they plan to form a multi-agency task force that will look into the matter. (ANC)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 22, 2014.

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