A PRIVATE contractor started collecting yesterday the piles of garbage that have accumulated at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), which the Cebu City Government reportedly failed to collect.

VSMMC officials clarified that contrary to the claim of Cebu City’s Department of Public Services (DPS) personnel, the uncollected garbage does not include medical and infectious wastes. The hospital segregates its wastes, they said.

Ma. Victoria Villarojo, VSMMC chief of housekeeping, told reporters yesterday that the uncollected garbage at the back of the hospital building are all general wastes.

These include biodegradable and non-biodegradable garbage, which are stored in green and black bags, respectively.

Villarojo said the medical and infectious wastes do not reach the pile because these are immediately collected by the Pollution Abatement Specialist Inc. (PASI), a private contractor.

She said that VSMMC has been asking the DPS to collect their garbage since Dec. 15 last year yet, but DPS reportedly didn’t respond to their request and still has not sent garbage collectors as of yesterday afternoon.

In an interview last Tuesday, DPS Chief Rolando Ardosa said the garbage in VSMMC was not collected possibly because it was not segregated.

Ardosa said that infectious and pathological wastes should be separated from other types of garbage.

“We do not collect garbage if they are mixed with pathological wastes like diapers because the landfill in Pulog is very strict in implementing that policy. Otherwise, our garbage trucks will be denied entry. That has always been our problem,” he said.

Just last month, he said, one of DPS’ garbage trucks was banned from entering the private sanitary landfill in Barangay Pulog in Consolacion town because it transported garbage that had pathological wastes.

Ardosa said that pathological wastes from hospitals are collected by PASI.

With more garbage piling up outside VSMMC’s wards, hospital officials again called up DPS last month. They even sent a letter to Ardosa to reiterate their request.

When VSMMC officials went to DPS, they were reportedly told by Ardosa that their wastes cannot be collected because they failed to practice segregation.

Villarojo explained that majority of their medical wards practice segregation.

But due to the fast turnover of patients, their janitors could not cope with the garbage that needs to be collected. There is only one janitor assigned to each ward.

VSMMC disposes of one to two metric tons of garbage daily.

In a separate interview, VSMMC’s Office of Special Concerns head Dr. Robert Al Alesna said that they don’t plan to file a complaint against DPS for failing to act on their request.

“I think informing them is enough. We also want to coordinate with them as how the Cebu City government is coordinating with us in accepting their patients from the Cebu City Medical Center,” he added.

Alesna said that to address the problem, they have commissioned PASI to collect not only their infectious wastes but also their general wastes.

With more patients complaining about the stench coming from the uncollected garbage, the VSMMC Executive Committee also decided to implement its own solid waste management program and acquire the necessary facilities.

Alesna said the hospital will buy its own microwave shredder that will convert non-biodegradable trash to recyclable items.

The VSMMC is still in the process of procuring the equipment and facilities for their solid waste management.

(This is a follow-up story to “Garbage uncollected for 2 weeks” that was published yesterday, Feb. 4. The Cebu City Medical Center’s concerns on their cadaver holding area and the VSMMC’s uncollected garbage are not related issues and should not have been merged in the same story.—Editors)