HEALTH NGO REMINDS HOSPITALS TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR MEDICAL WASTE AFTER THE BAGUIO MEDICAL CENTER INCIDENT
Last July 9, 2018 residents of Tuba, Benguet were alarmed by the mixed hospital wastes they have seen drifting along the Bayacsan Creek. It was reported that the syringes, dextrose sets, vials and even rubber tubes were dumped by the Baguio Medical Center’s (BMC) waste contractor.
“Unsegregated medical waste is very harmful when dumped carelessly in the environment. It poses large-scale public and environmental health risks through release of pathogens and toxic pollutants that can cause radiation burns, sharps-inflicted injuries, mercury and dioxin leaks that could eventually seep into the ground and pollute bodies of water.”expressed Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Asia.
Bayacsan Creek flows through residential areas specifically along sitios of Diyang, Pi-ig, Shumshang, Bakbakan, Nabjeng, Parasipis, Tapuakan down to Pugo in La Union. It is surrounded by rice paddies, animal farms, schools and various workplaces.
San Pascual added that, “it is very alarming that a public health institution is at the center of such medical waste mess, this despite the existence of the Joint DENR-DOH Administrative Order 02: Guidelines on effective and proper handling, collection, transport, treatment, storage and disposal of health care waste, signed in 2005”. He concludes that, “risks caused by improper medical waste management is irreversible and greatly damaging both to the people and planet.”
HCWH Asia who have initially established relations with BMC in the past, is currently taking steps, together with the EcoWaste Coalition, to conduct a thorough investigation on this incident and get the attention and appropriate action from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).###
Press Links on the Incident:
Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Asia is part of a global nonprofit organization that works towards environmental and sustainable hospital operations and in encouraging the transition to renewable energy as the sector’s global climate action contribution.