Go beyond conferences in cleaning waterways, environment officials told

By Rosalie O. Abatayo |January 13,2019 - 11:21 AM

Rubber gloves, syringes and other medical wastes are seen floating in the seas around Barangay Ibo, Lapu-Lapu City in this January 11, 2019 photo. / PHOTO COURTESY OF CESSNA ZOSA – SARMIENTO

CEBU CITY, Philippines — After the discovery of medical wastes floating on the seas off Lapu-lapu City, a religous environmentalist group is encouraging government officials to create concrete programs to clean the rivers and other waterways.

Pusyon Kinaiyahan, in a statement sent to CDN Digital, said the medical waste issue was just the “tip of the iceberg of the ongoing garbage problem in the Province of Cebu and the whole country.”

“The medical trash is just a part of the enormous garbage found in our surroundings. Let us end this madness,” the statement read.

The group said government agencies, such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), its attached agencies and local government units (LGUs), should act on cleaning the waterways rather than just holding conferences.

“Yes, there are gaps of what can be done and the institutional interests of some, we only tend to commit ourselves in discourses in the forms of summits and conferences and yet failed to listen and act on behalf of those suffering from environmental damages; both people and nature,” Pusyon Kinaiyahan said.

Since the discovery of medical wastes floating on the seas off Barangay Ibo last week, most of the fishermen in the area have stopped sailing due to fear that their catch might be infected from the floating trash.

The environment officers of Lapu-Lapu City have also started to patrolling  the area. They hauled sacks of hospital waste that included used syringes, tubes for oxygen tanks and used cotton swabs.

The Central Visayas office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-7), an attached agency of DENR, has already imposed a fine of P250,000 to the hospital in Mandaue City from where the medical trash have been traced and the third party firm it has commissioned to dispose of the waste.

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda also said in earlier interview that “heads will roll” on the issue of the floating medical wastes./dbs

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