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EcoWaste Coalition Urges DOH and DENR to Get to the Bottom of Hospital Waste Dumping in Tuba, Benguet

A waste and pollution watch group called upon Health Secretary Francisco Duque and Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu to leave no stone unturned to bring parties behind the deplorable hospital trash dumping in Tuba, Benguet to book.

Through a letter sent to the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and to their respective offices in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), the EcoWaste Coalition asked the government to get to the bottom of the dumping scandal that has grabbed the attention of local as well as the national media.

“We request your good offices to get to the bottom of this dumping incident in Tuba that reportedly includes dextrose bottles, sharps like needles and syringes, fluid packs, IV tubings, vials and body parts,” said Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“A thorough investigation will show the nature and volume of hospital waste materials dumped and the extent of the pollution caused,” she said.

The investigation sought will further show compliance or lack of compliance to the DOH’s Health Care Waste Management Manual and the Joint DENR-DOH A.O. 2005-02, or the ‘Policies and Guidelines on Effective and Proper Handling, Collection, Transport, Treatment, Storage and Disposal of Health Care Wastes,’ the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Complaints from local groups such as the Social Action Center and the Holy Family Basic Ecclesial Community based out of Saint Paul’s Parish in Bawek, Taloy Sur, Tuba, Benguet have reached the EcoWaste Coalition prompting it to ask the DOH and the DENR to investigate.

“We understand their concerns as mismanaged hospital waste can cause adverse effects on public health and the environment,” Sison said.

In their letter to Duque and Cimatu, the group requested their offices “to ensure that the concerns of the Tuba authorities and people are justly and swiftly tackled and that adequate remedies are promptly undertaken to address the health and environmental threats, particularly from the infectious and toxic fraction of the dumped hospital waste.”

The EcoWaste Coalition based in Quezon City is a non-profit environmental group promoting safe and sustainable management of municipal solid waste, healthcare waste, and hazardous and toxic waste.

Among other things, the group advocates for the strict implementation of key pollution prevention laws such as R.A. 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act), R.A. 9275 (Clean Water Act), R.A. 8749 (Clean Air Act) and R.A. 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act) to protect public health and the environment.