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Hospital waste contractor faces suspension over floating medical trash

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 16 January 2019 05:24 PM

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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PH gov’t tells metro LGUs: Impose strict guidelines on estero clean-up

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, 18 March 2019 04:03 PM

Estero de San Miguel

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday (March 18) told local officials in Metro Manila to implement strict guidelines on cleaning up all bodies of water draining into the Manila Bay.

This is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to rehabilitate Manila Bay and deal with the sources of its pollution.

In a meeting together with concerned government agencies, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu challenged village chiefs to impose guidelines that would help in totally eliminating wastes in esteros and hasten Manila Bay’s rehabilitation.

This is ahead of DENR’s plan to simultaneously clean up more than 200 esteros in Metro Manila on March 31 in a bid to achieve the goal of bringing down the coliform level in all esteros to 100 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters (mL).

The clean-up drive will cover Manila Bay tributaries traversing Quezon City, Valenzuela, Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas in Metro Manila.

Cimatu also reminded local government units (LGU) and villages surrounding the bay of their responsibilities in ensuring that wastes are properly collected and segregated, as well as the improvement of water quality within their jurisdictions, as stated in DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2019-09 released on January 24, 2019.

“Hindi lang basta-basta pabayaan mo na lang iyong garbage truck, kukuha iyong garbage, aalis din. Kailangang ma-implement din natin na wala nang maiiwan. Otherwise ‘pag naalis iyon, nagkalat-kalat, dumarating sa esteros iyong mga garbage,” Cimatu said.

The reminder follows a report that only 30 percent of the total number of concerned villages complied with the order and existing Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

“From now on, manghuli kayo ng nagtatapon ng basura sa kanal, estero, ilog, dalampasigan. Obligasyon ng barangay iyan. Obligasyon ng barangay na linisin ang kani-kanilang pamayanan,” DILG Undersecretary Martin Diño urged.

In its circular, the DILG directed 178 LGUs and 5,714 villages inside the Manila Bay Watershed Area to “fulfill their roles and responsibilities pursuant to environmental laws that contribute to the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.”

The agency cited in the memorandum Section 20 of the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, which provides that LGUs shall share the responsibility in the management and improvement of water quality within their jurisdictions.

Similarly, the Local Government Code states that villages are required to do basic services, which include, but not limited to services and facilities related to hygiene and sanitation, beautification and solid waste collection.

The DILG also said in the same memorandum that LGUs and villages must organize clean up drives in their localities, including coastal areas and inland water systems, while encouraging participation from different stakeholders.

In a separate Memorandum 2019-07, LGUs and villages are also expected to partake in the drive to renew Manila Bay by conducting weekly clean-up drives in their communities and leading the eco-waste management in their respective areas.

The agency warned that failure to comply with the order may mete out administrative charges and suspension or dismissal from government service.

“Bakit hindi sila nag-conduct ng clean up sa utos ni (DILG) Sec. (Eduardo) Año or else magpa-file kami ng kaso sa Ombudsman laban sa kanila,” Diño said.

The government kicked off the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program last January 27, 2019, which also includes the reforestation of mangrove areas in the Las Piñas-Parañaque critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Mai Bermudez)

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Cimatu calls on Pinoys to cut down plastic use

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, 14 March 2019 01:38 PM

In celebration of World Wildlife Day 2019, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu calls on Filipinos to cut down on the use of plastic.

Cimatu said that the Philippines is among the top 5 contributors of plastic waste in the ocean. He also raised concerns on the amount of plastic that end up in the ocean and pose a threat to marine life.

“We produce 2.7 metric tons of plastic waste every year. Following this trajectory of plastic production and mismanagement, UN reports predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish,”
Cimatu said.

Ocean Conservancy reports that 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean each year while according to the 2017 International Coastal Cleanup report, cigarette butts, plastic bottles and caps, straws and stirrers, among other kinds of plastic bags, were some of the top items found. — Aileen Cerrudo

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15 factories in Bulacan shut down for pumping chemical waste to Manila Bay

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, 29 January 2019 12:57 PM

Photo courtesy of DENR-Region 3

BULACAN, Philippines – There is no stopping the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from its crackdown of facilities that pollute Manila Bay.

In Bulacan, the agency’s regional office ordered the closure of 15 factories in the Municipalities of Marilao and Meycauayan for pumping waste water directly to river estuaries that link to Manila Bay.

In a report released by DENR on Friday (January 25), the agency issued ‘cease and desist’ order to 12 leather and tannery firms in Meycauayan and three in Marilao.

On Monday (January 28), the DENR cemented the drainage canal of five leather factories to prevent wastewater from draining to the rivers of Marilao and Meycauayan.

“Ang mga operations na ganito,na walang waste water treatment facility, walang permit, malaki ang contribution nila sa pollution,” explained Emerlyn Claudio, the DENR Region 3 Director.

Claudio accused the said establishments to have violated the Clean Water Act for not having their respective water treatment facility and environmental compliance certificate.

The environment official also noted that the said factories are discharging dark and chemically contaminated wastewater that flows directly to Manila Bay.

Aside from damage to the environment, the factories’ operations also cause inconvenience to the residents nearby.

“Ito nga tayo masakit na sa dibdib. Nakakasulasok na ang amoy. Kung yung mga nasa paligid, lalo na yung may exposure, I think this is one of the reasons why may complaint dati. Pero nag-stop sila and then nag resurface naman ang operation nila,” explained Claudio.

Local officials vowed to monitor closely the concerned companies after the shutdown.

“Mabaho na may kulay. May sulfite iyan ay nakakarating sa aming barangay. Imo-monitor na namin iyan araw-araw para ma-check kung mayroong tumatapon na tubig na marurumi,” said Chirs Polo Delos Santos, an official of Barangay Tugatog.

Meanwhile, the DENR warned closure against other companies if proven to have been violating environmental law particularly by disposing solid, water and chemical waste in aquatic environments such as Manila Bay. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nestor Torres)

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