DENR implements healthcare waste management as medical waste pours at 280 tons per day since Covid 19 outbreak

August 14, 2021

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will be implementing a healthcare waste management project in light of the huge waste problem brought about by the Covid 19 pandemic that can cause detrimental effects to human health.

   It may not have been earlier predicted, but medical waste brought about by the Covid 19 pandemic is now estimated to be accumulating by 280 metric tons (MT) per day.

   This has prompted DENR to cooperate with international agencies including governments from developing countries Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Nepal.

   The project will be financed by China’s  South South Cooperation Fund,   Floradema C. Eleazar., United Nations Development Program team leader said in a launch of the project Friday (August 13).

   China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) is co-funding the project.

   Eleazar said two waste treatment facilities will be put up in the Philippines.

   One treatment facility will be put up in cooperation with the Pasig local government unit (LGU) where several hospitals (Pasig City General Hospital, Rizal Medical Center) are run by the government.

Covid 19 waste management  Credit-  SPREP

   Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said during the project’s launch that the waste management project will bring about expertise in medical waste management in Pasig.

   “The problem has reached critical level.  The city government  does not have a capacity to deal with this infectious waste (that has been piling up) in the past few months. It is an urgent concern that seeks to be addressed,” Sotto said.

   “We look forward to the exchange of information, transfer of technology, technical support, , and training of people.  We look forward to the use autoclave shredder to process and treat up to 50 kilo per hour of waste.”

   Samuel C. Sumilang, chief nurse of Dr. Jose Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium in Tala, Caloocan City, also expressed gratitude for having been chosen as pilot site for the project.

   The waste management project will emulate the success experienced by China in its response to the Covid 19 medical waste problem.

   A UNIDO publication indicated that Infectious waste refers to medical waste that “carries pathogenic microorganisms and has the hazard of leading to the spread of infectious diseases.

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto

   Infectious waste mainly includes articles contaminated by patients’ blood, body fluid or excrement; and household garbage generated by isolated infectious patients or suspected infectious patients treated by medical institutions.”

   There are other types of medical waste health authorities are concerned of which are the following

1.      Drug waste

2.      Injury waste refers to discarded sharp medical instruments that could stab or cut human body. Injury waste mainly includes: medical needles, suture needles, scalpels, surgical knives, skin preparation knives, surgical saws, glass slides, glass test tubes, and glass ampoules.

3.      Chemical waste refers to waste chemical articles that are toxic, corrosive, flammable and explosive. Chemical waste mainly includes: discarded chemical reagents from medical imaging department, pathology department and laboratories, discarded chemical disinfectants such as peroxyacetic acid and glutaraldehyde, as well as discarded medical instruments and articles containing heavy metals such as mercury sphygmomanometer and mercury thermometer.

4.      Pathogen culture medium and specimens, preservation solution of strains and virus seed discarded by pathogenic microorganism laboratories, as well as various discarded medical specimens; discarded blood and serum; used disposable medical supplies and disposable medical devices. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

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