MEDICAL WASTE FIRM OPERATIONS HALTED
Cenro wants the Davao City Environmental Care Inc. (DCECI) to be charged with violating various environmental laws
They told us they refused to accept the notice because cleaning the waste would mean they admitted guilt. MANDAUE CENRO HEAD ARACELI BARLAM,
on DCECI’s refusal to accept the notice of violation ordering it to remove the hospital wastes along the Butuanon River
Cenro noted several violations when it inspected the firm’s facility in Barangay Umapad on Friday, Jan. 11
Medclean Management Solutions Inc. now the only accredited firm to treat hazardous, infectious wastes in Cebu
The Mandaue City Government has issued a cease-and-desist order (CDO) against the Davao City Environmental Care Inc. (DCECI) for various violations, including the disposal of medical and hazardous wastes outside its facility.
Aside from the CDO, city officials also want the private waste treatment firm charged with violating Republic Act (RA) 6969, or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990, and RA 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, among others.
Araceli Barlam, head of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro), said they will submit their recommendations to sue DCECI to the City Legal Office this week.
Last Friday, Jan. 11, Cenro personnel inspected DCECI’s facility in Barangay Umapad.
They found several infractions, including violation of City Ordinance 14-2017-1221, which prohibits the “spilling of waste, refuse or garbage, whether solid or liquid human and excreta, and offensive and obnoxious matters in any vacant lot, yards, roads, streets sidewalks, roadside canals, rivers, creeks, underground drainage system and other places.”
Looking for an alternative They also found out that DCECI did not have an environmental transport permit from the Office of the Mayor for every solid, liquid and hazardous or infectious wastes it transported within the city.
Barlam said the firm violated RA 9003 because it transported and dumped its wastes in areas other than the centers or facilities prescribed by the law.
On Saturday, Jan. 12, Cenro is- sued another notice of violation to DCECI and ordered the firm to remove the hospital wastes placed inside yellow bags that were dumped along the Butuanon River.
But Barlam said the firm refused to accept the notice. Her office sent a second notice to the firm on Monday, Jan. 14, ordering it to remove the wastes it dumped along the river.
“When we gave the additional notice of violation last Saturday, they (DCECI) refused to receive our notice. So we posted it on the fence of their establishment. They told us they refused to accept the notice because cleaning the waste would mean they admitted guilt,” Barlam said.
But even with DCECI’s refusal, Barlam was bent on filing charges against the firm.
With the CDO in effect, DCECI’s operations were suspended, Barlam said.
She encouraged hospitals that had existing contracts with DCECI to look for other firms to handle their wastes.
In a separate interview, Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7 Director William Cuñado said Medclean Management Solutions Inc. was the only firm left in Cebu that was accredited by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to treat hazardous and infectious wastes.
The DENR had also accredited the Pollution Abatement Systems Specialists Inc., but the latter’s operations were suspended due to “technical differences.”
Cuñado urged hospitals and other medical institutions to treat their own hazardous and infectious wastes or look for another firm.
On Monday, Cuñado and DENR 7 Executive Director Gilbert Gonzales inspected the facilities of DCECI and Chong Hua Hospital Mandaue and Cancer Center (CHHMCC) in relation to the discovery of medical wastes in the Mactan Channel and along the shores of the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.
Gonzales and Cuñado also met with officials of CHHMCC and DCECI separately to determine the violations committed and culpability.
Meanwhile, Dr. Edna Seno, Mandaue City health officer, said she already instructed health workers in Barangays Umapad and Paknaan to visit residents who complained about the foul smell coming from the medical wastes that were dumped near their homes.
Seno asked them to confirm allegations that medical wastes that were dumped there were being burned at night.
She also instructed barangay health workers to prevent scavengers and children from playing near the alleged dump site to avoid getting sick.
Seno said they needed to check if scavengers or children had come in contact with the medical wastes and if they had gotten sick as a result.
Seno said burning medical wastes could cause various health problems, including respiratory illnesses, and advised residents to wear face masks, especially if they smelled the foul odor again.
THREAT ALONG THE RIVER. A garbage truck passes by a pile of yellow bags containing medical waste a few meters away from the Davao City Environmental Care Inc. (DCECI) facility in Barangay Umapad, Mandaue City, Cebu. The trash pile sits next to the Butuanon River. The Mandaue City Environment and Natural Resources Office has issued DCECI a notice of violation for this and ordered the removal of the bags.