Hospitals may still be held accountable for hazardous waste in Mactan Channel

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo January 16,2019 - 02:48 PM

Officers from Lapu-Lapu’s City Environment and Natural Resources Office ( CENRO) continue to collect more hospital wastes from the Mactan Channel. The presence of the hazardous waste has affected the livelihood of the island’s fishermen. / photo courtesy of Lapu-Lapu City PIO

Cebu City, Philippines – The hospitals’ accountability on their biohazard wastes does not end with contracting a third party firm to dispose of their trash.

Gilbert Gonzales, Central Visayas director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-7) said the hospitals to which the medical waste floating in Mactan Channel were traced to may still be held accountable for failing to properly monitor the volume of waste they produced.

Gonzales, in a news forum on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, said all waste from  the hospitals should have been tracked to make sure that none goes out untreated or unprocessed.

“The responsibility in the disposal pf hazardous waste is on the generator of the waste, in this case the hospitals. Kung ibinigay nila sa third party contractor yung responsibility na yun, sila pa rin dapat ang magdetermine ang capability ng provider to treat and dispose of the waste properly,” Gonzales said.

“So those waste na nawala along the process ng pagtransport or ano, and eventually ended up in Mactan Channel, accountability pa rin nila and they have to recover those wastes,” Gonzales added.

DENR-7 and its attached agency, Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), already conducted a technical conference with Davao City Environment Care Inc. (DCECI), the waste-hauling firm allegedly responsible for the waste slippage, and the two hospitals in Mandaue City last week. 

The labels of the floating medical wastes were traced to University of Cebu Medical Center (UCMed) and Chong Hua Hospital.

Lawyer Unalee Monares, chief of the Legal Office of  EMb-7, said they have issued both the hospitals and DCECI Notices of Violation and corresponding fines because of the floating hazardous wastes.

However, Monares clarified that the fines recommended are not yet final since they will still have to consider the stance of DCECI and the hospitals.

The companies asked for 15 days to submit their position papers on the matter. After which, Monares said they will decide whether or not to impose the fines.

Monares said EMB-7 recommended a fine of P250,000 for DCECI, P110,000 for Chong Hua and P60,000 for UCMed after their technical conferences. BJO

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TAGS: accountable, DENR-7, hazardous waste, hospital, Mactan channel

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