Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Wednesday warned private clinics, laboratories, and hospitals located in the city of Manila against disposing of hazardous wastes such as used rapid test kits as he called on them to follow proper waste disposal protocols.
Domagoso issued the warning after netizens reported that used rapid test kits were scattered along M. Dela Fuente St. in Sampaloc, Manila on Tuesday night, causing fear among the residents.
CCTV footage of the incident showed that the used test kits fell from a punctured garbage bag attached to a pedicab carrying the said wastes.
Domagoso said the city government and the Manila Police District (MPD) are now investigating the incident.
“Mayroong responsable sa sitwasyon na ito and we are now looking kung saan nanggaling yung improper disposal of hazardous materials (There is somebody responsible for this incident and we are now looking at the source of this improper disposal of hazardous waste materials),” Domagoso said in an ambush interview.
He said there is a protocol regarding the proper disposal of hazardous wastes like those materials coming from hospitals, clinics and laboratories.
Proper disposal of hazardous waste, he said, is very important especially that the country is in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Domagoso added that clinics, laboratories, businesses and corporations in the city that fail to properly dispose of their hazardous waste would face closure and charges for improper waste management will be filed against them.
“We can locate maybe the clinic, maybe a private office, maybe a hospital, or maybe a laboratory. [The MPD said] they are looking already at sinisiyasat na ‘yung nangyari (and it is now being investigated),” he said.
After the incident was reported, Domagoso ordered the Manila Department of Public Services (DPS) to immediately collect and properly dispose of the scattered used rapid test kits and sanitize the area.
“We immediately sent the DPS to clean the area and collect the scattered used rapid test kits. The good news is that we know that it was not done intentionally,” Domagoso said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Meanwhile, Domagoso clarified that Manila’s health department and its six district hospitals have been strictly complying with protocols on proper handling and disposal of hazardous waste.
He said the city government has already stopped using rapid test kits since July 15 after they purchased and started using Covid-19 serology testing machines.
“The City Government of Manila, which includes the Manila Health Department (MHD) and its six district hospitals, has halted the use of rapid test kits since July 15, 2020, which is when the city has already started its free drive-thru serology testing,” Domagoso said in a statement.
Domagoso assured the public that the local government strictly complies with Republic Act 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1999 and Republic Act 9003 otherwise known as Philippine Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 in disposing of hazardous waste materials.
“We are compliant with the mandate of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on the proper disposal of hazardous and infectious waste, which is a strict requirement to be granted a license to operate from the Department of Health annually,” he said.
Domagoso added that the disposal of hazardous and infectious wastes generated in all health centers and district hospitals in the city of Manila is done through the DENR-accredited hazardous waste service contractors in charge of the treatment, storage, and disposal of all hazardous and infectious waste.
“Biohazard wastes and other infectious waste materials such as syringes, sharps and test kits are placed in puncture-proof plastic containers with 10-percent Clorox while test tubes, gloves, cotton balls, pipette tips and used PPE (personal protective equipment) sets are placed in a yellow plastic bag”, he added. (PNA)
Photo Credit: www.manila.gov.ph