By Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is working on the establishment of medical waste disposal and wastewater facilities for community quarantine sites in Metro Manila.
“We are coordinating with the World Trade Center (WTC Metro Manila), Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), and Rizal Memorial Coliseum for the establishment of facilities for the proper disposal of hazardous wastes, as well as wastewater, in these quarantine sites,” DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said in an interview over DZBB.
The three facilities have been converted to community quarantine sites to initially cater to COVID-19 positive patients who are asymptomatic and with mild symptoms. “These quarantine facilities have not been used for such purpose before therefore they have no proper spaces for hazardous waste disposal, unlike in actual hospitals. We will help them contain the contaminated wastes. We will also address their wastewater,” Antiporda explained.
He also appealed to all local government units (LGUs) to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to garbage collectors because they are also exposed to the novel coronavirus and other hazardous infections that may be present in solid wastes collected from hospitals, healthcare facilities, and households.
“Our garbage collectors play a critical role especially during this outbreak. We will do our best to respond to their needs in the best way possible,” he said. “We are calling on the LGUs to not to discount proper waste collection and disposal during this period. You are putting the community at risk from possible contamination if you take this matter for granted. We should be able to look at all angles in our approach to fight the spread of the COVID-19,” he added.
Antiporda said the DENR is expected to issue a memorandum order by Thursday to direct LGUs to address the collection and segregation of “healthcare” or hazardous wastes.