DOH eyes inquiry on landfill closure

Local News Official
Local News OfficialSunStar File Photo

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The Department of Health (DOH) is eyeing an investigation regarding the closure of the Kalangitan sanitary landfill in Capas, Tarlac, operated by the Metro Clark Waste Management Corporation (MCWMC).

DOH Disease Prevention and Control Bureau Director Gerna Manatad, in a memorandum endorsed the issue to DOH Central Luzon Director Corazon Flores.

Manatad suggested a conduct of an inquiry “to determine additional facts and recommendations on the best course of action to be taken by the DOH on the said matter.”

The letter cited that some 12 million residents of Central Luzon, and Northern Luzon, are said to be affected by the impending closure of the 100-hectare landfill.

The facility serves 150 local government units (LGUs) and more than 1,000 industrial clients in Central Luzon, Pangasinan, and the Cordilleras including the Summer Capital of Baguio City.

Hospital waste treaters, who process some 400 tons of hospital medical wastes per month, have also expressed fear that patients of some 1,000 hospitals all over the country and their workers will be exposed to harmful waste if the landfill is closed.

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) told MCWMC that there will be no renewal of the contract in October.

With this, the MCWMC filed a case against CDC at the Angeles City Trial Court to seek a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

The waste management firm said it will continue serving its clients.

Danny Abadilla, president of Clark Sanitation Services, earlier warned that they will stop the treatment of hospital wastes if the BCDA and CDC push with their plan to shut down the landfill.

Abadilla said hospital wastes, consisting of hypodermic needles body fluids, body parts, pharmaceuticals, radioactive materials, and cytotoxic drugs are generated by health care establishments, health-related laboratories, and health research facilities.

If BCDA and CDC close the Capas waste facility in October 5, Abadilla said they will also stop collecting medical wastes.

The health of patients and hospital workers in the frontline, and the community will be affected by the landfill closure, added Abadilla.

He said most of the hospital wastes are coming from Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, and as far as Palawan.

Hospital wastes are treated in their recovery facility before being taken to the Kalangitan Sanitary Landfill, Abadilla said.

The Kalangitan Sanitary Landfill is the “only sanitary landfill accredited by DENR to accept medical wastes,” according to Abadilla.

Christopher Tang, Director for Business Development of SafeWaste Inc. shared Abadilla's statement.

He said uncollected medical wastes may affect the health of CL and NL residents.

Tang said their treatment facility, located near Kalangitan at Cutcut, Capas 2, processes some 30 tons of medical waste per week. These wastes come from 120 hospitals in Region 2 and CAR.

Tang cited a severe environmental crisis if the waste facility is closed.

SafeWaste employs some 30 workers in the treatment facility in Capas.

SafeWaste Inc General Manager Al Kane said Metro Clark Waste Management Corporation is a “national treasure” and should be kept running.

The MCWMC said some one million tons of wastes are being brought to the waste facility for processing each year.

All treatment facilities engage in the collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal of medical wastes.

Treatment of hospital wastes includes the use of pressurized steam in the microbial inactivation of pathogens found in infectious wastes.

After treatment, medical wastes are taken to the Kalangitan Sanitary Landfill for final disposal.

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