ENVIRONMENTAL health and justice organization Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) is calling on health-care facilities and personnel nationwide to adopt measures that will reduce their energy use and carbon emission.
HCWH Asia Executive Director Ramon San Pascual said on Tuesday doctors and health workers should be at the forefront of addressing climate change following their sworn oath.
“The ‘do no harm’ oath of doctors and other health-care professionals should heal both the patient and, at the same time, disallow further harm to our environment,” he said.
Pascual suggested that hospitals should replace their bulbs regularly and should put solar panels on their roofs to reduce energy consumption.
Paeng Lopez, HCWH healthy energy campaigner, said since 2013 the price of generating solar energy has significantly decreased and is now lower than coal energy.
“Every day, the cost of renewable energy goes down. In 2013 solar energy breached the cross-over point, which means this is very possible for the Philippines,” he said.
Before the Clean Air Act was passed in 1999, hospitals had burnt medical wastes that produced dioxins that harm human health and agriculture.
Lopez said health facilities have been contributing 13 percent to the global carbon footprint, or the amount of carbon dioxide produced by consuming fossil fuels, including coal.
HCWH also proposed local and regional assessment of environmental and health impacts of energy sources, air-quality governance, and transition toward the use of “healthy energy”.
In the long term, HCWH pushes for a moratorium on additional coal-mining plants and to have more sources of renewable energy.
Yet, Dr. Esperanza Cabral, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, admitted all sources of energy have their own negative impacts.
“All sources of energy have their own problems. What we are currently balancing are those with more problems and those with fewer concerns so we can shift to those with lesser problems,” she said.
HWCH launched on June 16 “I Choose Healthy Energy”, a campaign on the use of healthy energy over dirty energy at the Lopez Museum.
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