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Hospital waste contractor faces suspension over floating medical trash

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Authorities inspect the bags of medical waste found floating in the waters of Mactan Channel

CEBU, Philippines – Residents near Mactan Channel are worried about the recent discovery of hospital wastes floating in the said body of water.

Authorities from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 7’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) immediately launched an investigation into the incident.

They found out that two waste treaters of two private hospitals in the city are violating environmental laws.

“Nakita namin na merong mga nagawang violation ng environmental care in terms of the handling, management and in terms of record nila,” explained William Cuñado, EMB-7 Director.

“We visited the site. Nakita namin na meron talagang something wrong in their management na hindi talaga na-implement properly ang ating palatuntunan,” he added.

This prompted the authorities to recommend the suspension of the treatment, storage and disposal registration of the Davao City Environmental Care, Inc. which serves as the waste treater of Chong Hua Hospital and UC Medical Center.

The TSD registration emphasizes that a waste treatment facility must be capable of proper treatment and safe disposal of hazardous waste from any establishment such as that of the hospital.

Meanwhile, after DENR’s technical conference, the waste treater as well as Chong Hua Hospital and UC Medical Center were all required to submit their respective explanations regarding the matter.

“Doon na natin ipinakita ang ating findings during sa investigation kung anong mga sections ang na-violate nila at ang possible na mga penalties nila,”  said Atty, Unalee Monares, the chief of the Legal Division EMB-7.

“Base sa ating investigation, nakita natin na there is something wrong sa handling nila sa kanilang wastes, documentation sa kanilang wastes,” she added.

The waste treater’s permit to transport was also suspended pending investigation.

Meanwhile, the DENR provided a list of accredited service providers to the two hospitals so they could get a new and compliant waste treater. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Gladys Toabi)

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DENR pushes for alternative mining

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, May 24th, 2019

Mining site

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) pushes for alternative mining in order to care for the country’s environment.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu encourages mining engineers to find ways to mine without harming the environment. Cimatu added that they are looking into surface mining as one of the alternatives.

“As long as you don’t destroy it, instead if you are able to get the mineral content then you resurface it at the same time make sure na ang mga water na dumadaan doon hindi mapupunta sa unless being treated muna, (make sure the water will be treated first)” he said.

Meanwhile, the environment secretary assured there are sufficient materials for the government’s Build Build Build Program.

Cimatu said the country has enough supply of cement, and aggregate materials including sand, stone, and steel bars.

“Sufficient naman iyan (That is sufficient) in fact the aggregates are doing well and we are allowing the quarrying in some rivers but will make sure that na hindi masisira ang river, (the rive will not be damaged)” he said.—(with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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Prioritize implementation of environmental laws—DENR to newly elected local officials

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2019

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) urges newly elected local officials to prioritize implementation of environmental laws.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu reminded the new leaders to prioritize full and strict implementation of environmental laws, particularly on solid waste management.

“The task force cannot do it alone. We need the full cooperation of LGUs,” Cimatu added.

Meanwhile, DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGU Concerns, Benny Antiporda, called on the local government units (LGU) to report any law violations.

“By doing so, these officials will send the right signal early on in their administration and that is, they do not tolerate any wrongdoing. We will go after both newly elected and outgoing local officials who violated environmental laws,” Antiporda said.

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Establishment owners in General Luna, Siargao Island to undergo environmental laws seminar—DENR

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, May 9th, 2019

The famous boardwalk in Cloud 9, General Luna, Siargao Islands, Philippines during sunrise. (Photo: Jupit Reyes/Creative Commons) 

Establishment owners in General Luna, Siargao Island will undergo environmental laws seminar after around 700 establishments had been found to have violated environmental laws, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

400 of these establishments don’t have Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) while around 300 establishments violated the 20-meter easement zone.

DENR Caraga Regional Executive Director Felix Alicer has admitted that they have lapses in the implementation of these laws.

He also said that the said buildings were constructed without considering the requirements for a building permit.

“I must admit na mayroon tayong kakulangan sa pag-implement ng batas in coordinating with the building officials. Kasi sa tingin namin na-issue itong mga (I must admit we have lapses in implementing the laws in coordinating with the building officials. Because we think, these building permits were issued) building permit in the construction without taking into the consideration that there is the requirements in the PD [Presidential decree] 1586,” he said.

There is no official announcement yet as to when and where will the seminar be conducted.

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