Covid waste disposal raised

THE Environment Management Bureau (EMB) Cordillera continues to remind health facilities in the region to abide by health protocols on proper disposal of waste materials especially from health-related equipment.

Environment Management Bureau (EMB) Cordillera Director Maria Victoria Abrera reminded health facilities in the region to strictly follow waste management procedures under Republic Act (RA) 6969, an act to control toxic substances and hazardous and nuclear wastes, or face penalties.

“Facial masks and medical kits used by health facilities in the coronavirus testing should be properly disposed of to prevent the possible spread of any disease not only Covid,” Abrera said.

RA 6969 directs the government to regulate, restrict or prohibit the importation, manufacture, processing, sale, distribution, use and disposal of chemical substances and mixtures that present unreasonable risk and/or injury to health or the environment. It also prohibits the entry, even in transit, of hazardous and nuclear wastes and their disposal into the Philippine territorial limits for whatever purpose and provide advancement and facilitate research and studies on toxic chemicals.

A video circulating on social media showed how medical test kits used in Metro Manila scattered on a road after its garbage bag was torn.

“The recent incident in Metro Manila, the test kits for Covid was not disposed of properly. So for the Cordillera Region, we should be very cautious where and when we to dispose of these hazardous waste,” Abrera said.

Toxic Substances, Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act

RA 6969’s application covers importation, manufacture, processing, handling, storage, transportation, sale, distribution, use and disposal of all unregulated chemical substances and mixtures in the Philippines, including the entry, even in transit, as well as the keeping or purposes.

It also indicates hazardous substances which present either short-term acute hazards such as acute toxicity by ingestion, inhalation or skin absorption, skin or eye contact hazard or the risk of fire or explosion.

It also indicates the long-term environmental hazards, including chronic toxicity upon repeated exposure, carcinogenicity, which may in some cases result from acute exposure but with a long latent period, resistance to detoxification processes such as biodegradation, the potential to pollute underground or surface waters, or aesthetically objectionable properties such as offensive odors.

Hazardous waste defined under this Republic Act 6969 are substances that are without any safe commercial, industrial, agricultural or economic usage and are shipped, transported or brought from the country of origin for dumping or disposal into or in transit through any part of the territory of the Philippines.

EMB-Cordillera said based on this law, the administrative fines in all cases of violations including violations of implementing rules and regulations are hereby authorized to impose a fine of not less than P10,000 but not more than P50,000 against any person or entity found guilty of the breach.

The administrative fines imposed and collected by the environment department shall accrue to a special fund to be administered exclusively for projects and research activities relative to toxic substances and mixtures.


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