Dad to EMB-7: Don’t delay OK of permits of firms seeking to collect medical wastes in Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines — “Don’t delay the approval of permits for accredited medical waste treatment, storage, and disposal providers to operate in Cebu City so that they can start collecting medical wastes in the city.”
This is the call of Cebu City opposition Councilor Joel Garganera to the Environment Management Bureau in Central Visayas (EMB-7) amid the medical waste issue in the city and TSD operators had not yet been given an EMB-7 permit to operate in the city yet.
Garganera made the call during a phone interview with Cebu Daily News Digital on Sunday when asked about the hospital waste problem since medical wastes from some hospitals in the city had been found floating in the Mactan Channel a month ago.
He said that the EMB-7 seemed to downplay the issue on the wastes and refused to address the problem of the piling hospital wastes of the city.
“The truth is nagkagrabe ato medical wastes. I don’t see EMB-7 doing anything about it,” said Garganera.
In an earlier statement, William Cuñado, director of EMB-7 said that there is ‘no crisis’ on hospital wastes in Cebu City since various private agencies such as the Pollution Abatement Systems Specialists, Inc. (Passi), Davao City Environmental Care Inc. (DCECI), Aquilini Mactan Renewable Energy, Inc. (AMREI), and Medclean Management Solutions, Inc. (MMSI) are treating the medical wastes of the city.
Garganera said that this statement is contrary to the current situation since Passi, a waste treatment, storage, and disposal (TSD) operator, has not been permitted to collect medical wastes until now and these permits have been ‘clearly’ delayed.
“Ana sila (EMB-7) okay na pero ang tinuod wala pa. Nagtipun-og gihapon ang mga basura sa atong hospitals,” said Garganera.
Garganera said that EMB-7 has been focused on AMREI, a waste-to-energy facility in Lapu-Lapu City that had also been permitted to treat medical wastes, to solve the hospital waste problems of Metro Cebu.
He again issued the call for the EMB-7 to already approve the permits of the TSD providers so that they could start collecting the medical wastes in hospitals.
For his part, Cuñado, in a phone interview with Cebu Daily News Digital, said that the EMB-7 was not purposely delaying the permits of TSD operators in Cebu, but they were only ‘carefully’ complying with the regulations of Republic Act (RA) No. 6969, or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990.
He also clarified that the Passi was given the permit to resume their operations after the operators were able to comply with expanding their storage capacity to the required 3,000 cubic meters.
On allegations that they did nothing in the past month to address the hospital waste problem, Cunado said that he would not argue with the Cebu City councilor since arguing with him would only detrimental to the EMB-7’s operations.
“Ilaha sad na. Basta kami nagbuhat mi sa among mga trabaho,” said Cuñado.
Cuñado said he was hoping that instead of arguing over the matter of hospital wastes, the local government units and their legislators would contribute to finding a solution to the pressing problem.
“Garbage is really is a shared responsibility,” he said.
He said that with regards to the solutions he would leave that to the LGUs because they were the legislators and the city would be the ones to execute these solutions.
When sought for comment, Garganera said that Cenro (City Environment and Natural Resources Office) should be doing its part in coordination with the EMB-7 as well when it would come to hospital wastes because they were the offices responsible for this.
He said that it would Cenro that would recommend to the City Council the action plans to solve the waste issue.
He said that the Council could only request and legislate based on the recommendations of the experts, which in this case would be Cenro.
Cebu Daily News Digital tried to reach Cenro officials but they could not be reached for comment./dbs
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