THE Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) generates an average of 1,300 kilograms of non-biodegradable wastes per day, contributed by the hospital’s more than 5,000 employees and almost 2,000 patients, SPMC-Public Health Unit adviser Dr. Marocel Celeste-Montillano said.
Montillano said to control the waste the hospital produces, SPMC will soon be banning the usage of single-use plastics inside the hospital premises. Among the plastics that are not allowed are two-liter or less plastic bottles, supot or sando bags, cups, straws, utensils, plates, and other “one-time usage” items.
The hospital has also placed images on alternatives to single-use plastic items. Hospital employees and those staying or visiting the hospital are encouraged to bring their tumblers, eco-bags, and recyclable and reusable containers.
“Isa ni ka-way para matabangan namo ma-control ang production sa waste. Isang paraan din ito ng pest control. Marami kami makikita supot ng food na ginabutang lang sa bed. Usahay ginasuksokan siya sa mga cockroaches (It’s our way of controlling waste production. It’s also our way of pest control. We’ve noticed some plastic cellophane as food container, are placed in beds. These tend to be inviting especially to cockroaches),” Celeste-Montillano said.
She added that they are only waiting for the policy to be signed for formal dissemination.
For a large institution like SPMC, which is also the largest government hospital in Mindanao, the move to reduce its generated waste is commendable. The hospital is not only making a move to reduce waste but is also hoping to create behavioral change.
“We want behavioral change. The knowledge is there, masama yung epekto ng plastic pero we have no choice (plastic has a negative effect but we have no choice). Kasi yun talaga accessible and affordable. But with this simple step na medyo lisod and challenging, dako ni siya’g impact in our health and environment (Because it is more accessible and affordable. But with this simple step which is admittedly challenging, it will bring a huge impact for our health and environment),” Celeste-Montillano said.
SPMC is not the only institution in Davao City that is taking steps to reduce wastes.
Some schools in the city like Ateneo de Davao University, University of Southeastern Philippines, and San Pedro College, have also implemented their respective policies on the use of single-use plastics. Hotels like Marco Polo Hotel Davao and dusitD2 Davao have also implemented measures to reduce the use of plastics like substituting plastic straws with paper, bamboo, or metal straws.
We hope that through these measures on waste reduction implemented by different institutions and establishments will strike a chord among the Dabawenyos. We have seen how plastics have become part of the problem with pollution. Traveling to Samal Island, the coast is not only lined with pieces of plastics but it is also scattered throughout the gulf. We have seen how plastic wastes end up in the many dead sea mammals washing up along the shores of Davao Gulf.
While we have yet to find an alternative to rid our dependence on single-use plastics, every action or strategy to reduce the waste we generate will somehow help conserve and protect our environment.