Mactan Channel not safe for swimming – official

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram January 09,2019 - 04:35 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Swimming in the Mactan Channel is now prohibited after hospital wastes believed to contain toxic substances were collected there.

An official of the Lapu-Lapu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) said it is no longer safe for anyone to bathe in the channel as of the moment as it can cause health problems.

On Wednesday, Cenro personnel found at least three huge garbage bags containing laboratory specimens such as stool and saliva inside tubes along the shores of Barangays Pusok, Ibo, Pajo and Poblacion.

Adelino Padilla Sr., Lapu-Lapu City Cenro officer, said the volume of hospital waste they recently collected was the largest so far. 

“Some of them might have been thrown out from the hospital where they came from,” he said in Cebuano. 

Padilla revealed that some of the tubes contained specimens contaminated with tuberculosis and Hepatitis B, based on the stickers on the discarded bottles and tubes. 

“These toxic wastes are extremely hazardous since they have the capacity to contaminate a certain area, and spread unwanted diseases,” Padilla explained. 

“This is why we urge the residents to alert us if they see hospital wastes floating nearby or smell anything foul coming from the sea,” he added. 

The Lapu-Lapu City government is currently conducting an investigation to find out how these medical wastes ended up in the sea.

Last Saturday, photos and videos of medical trash such as used syringes, kidney trays, several chemical bottles, a tube containing a blood sample, and several gloves were photographed floating near the shores of Barangay Ibo, Lapu-Lapu City and posted on Facebook.  

The photos immediately went viral.

In a statement, Chong Hua Hospital, whose name appeared on some of the chemical bottles floating  on the sea, said they will be coordinating with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR–7) to shed light as to why some of their wastes ended up in the seas.

Chong Hua said they will review their current solid waste management protocols at the same time assure the public that their waste disposal is being handled properly. 

Another private hospital based in Mandaue City was also being investigated after its wastes were also found at the Mactan Channel. 

Cebu Daily News Digital has withheld the name of the hospital since they have yet to issue a statement.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said they have issued a notice to the hospitals to shed light as to why their wastes were not properly disposed. /rcg

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TAGS: health problems, hospital waste, Mactan channel, swimming, toxic substances, unsafe

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