200 barrels of medical wastes uncollected

LOOK AT THAT. Barangay workers pick up hospital wastes dumped beside the Butuanon Bridge in Sitio Tambis, Barangay Umapad, Mandaue City. (SunStar photo / Allan Cuizon)

An estimated 200 barrels of medical wastes from hospitals in Cebu City remain uncollected.

This was reportedly caused by the delay of issuance of permits to service providers by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7.

City Councilor Joel Garganera, former environment committee chairman, said he got the details after a meeting with the representatives of hospitals, medical clinics and birthing centers.

The medical wastes are stuck in storage facilities after service provider Pollution Abatement System Specialists Inc. (Passi) was not given a permit to transport, store and dispose of the garbage.

Jaz See, Passi general manager, said they have not operated in the past six months.

She said they applied for a permit’s renewal last May as their permit was set to expire last June.

See added that their clients—Cebu City Medical Center, Vicente Sotto Medical Center, Visayas Community Hospital and Chong Hua Hospital-Cebu City—have complained about the uncollected medical wastes.

Passi also failed to collect the garbage from more than 50 birthing centers in the city and province.

Before its permit expired, Passi collected an average of 2,000 kilos of medical wastes per day.

See admitted that they committed a violation when they failed to place labels on medical wastes last year, but this error has since been corrected.

She hopes EMB 7 will release the permit to transport the wastes soon.

EMB 7 Director William Cuñado said Passi is expected to begin operating by this week or the next.

For Cuñado, there is no medical waste crisis in Cebu, as three service providers expressed their readiness to collect medical wastes from hospitals.

Cuñado said this is in response to a privilege speech delivered by Garganera on Tuesday, Jan. 22. Garganera told the City Council in session that medical clinics and hospitals in Cebu were worried about the effects of storing their wastes, including the placentas from a mother’s womb, within their premises.

Cuñado said EMB 7 accredited three treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facilities to operate in Cebu, after suspending the operation of Davao City Environmental Care Inc.

The other TSD firms are Aquilini Mactan Renewable Energy Inc. (Amrei) in Barangay Basak, Lapu-Lapu City, Medclean Management Solutions Inc. in Mandaue City, and Passi in Cebu City.

Cuñado said Passi has no TSD permit, but it has permission to transport medical wastes.

Cuñado explained that the proper segregation of medical wastes should start in the hospitals and maternity clinics. The Department of Health has the authority to look into it.

EMB 7, he said, has the power to monitor the medical wastes when these are transported out of the hospital’s premises.

He said the hospitals in Cebu produce 15 tons of garbage per day.

Amrei, a new service provider, can accommodate medical wastes up to 75 tons per day. EMB 7 still has to get the list of hospitals that hired Amrei.

Cuñado said hospitals can only dispose of hazardous wastes to firms accredited by EMB 7.

The official said it is better for a hospital to establish a treatment facility of its own, but it must secure a permit from EMB 7 before constructing it.

In Lapu-Lapu City, Mayor Paz Radaza met a representative from one of the three private hospitals in Mandaue City whose medical wastes wound up on the shores of the city’s coastal villages. The official promised Radaza they will help clean up the garbage.

City Legal Officer Ethelbert Ouano said only Chong Hua Hospital answered the notice to explain he sent early this month. He is yet to receive the replies of University of Cebu Medical Center and Cortes General Hospital.

Meanwhile, the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) has implemented its own measures to counter the concerns on medical waste collection.

Anton Reposar, acting administrator of CCMC, said the hospital has a storage facility where hazardous medical wastes are being kept.

“While there is no collection yet from Passi, we are storing our medical waste in our storage facility,” he said.

The bigger storage facility for medical waste is among the measures that CCMC has been implementing to temporarily address the concerns on its collection.

Its storage facility, can accommodate 35 cubic meters of hazardous wastes.

“It’s well-monitored and it’s located away from our wards to maintain sanitation. We also spray disinfectant,” he said.

Reposar assured that despite the concern, hospital operation is not affected. (From PAC, FMD, FVQ of SuperBalita Cebu, RVC / KAL)


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