Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso ordered an investigation on the used coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) rapid test kits that were scattered along M. Dela Fuente Street in Sampaloc, Manila Tuesday night.
Domagoso said the Manila Police District (MPD) is now tracing where the improperly discarded waste came from, warning that any establishment found to be disposing hazardous waste erroneously will face closure orders as well as charges for improper waste management.
“Mayroong responsable sa sitwasyon na ito and we are now looking kung saan nanggaling yung improper disposal of hazardous materials (There is someone responsible for this situation and we are now looking where the improperly disposed hazardous materials came from),” he told reporters.
“We can locate maybe the clinic, maybe a private office, maybe a hospital, or maybe a laboratory. they are looking already at sinisiyasat na ‘yung nangyari (and investigating what happened),” he added.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage from the Manila city government showed that the used rapid test kits were scattered on the street after the garbage bag carrying it was accidentally ripped open. The test kits then fell from the pedicab carrying the trash.
Domagoso ordered the proper disposal of the test kits and the disinfection of the area after receiving the report.
Mayor Isko stressed that the Manila Health Department (MHD) and the city government's six district hospitals strictly adhere with Republic Act No. 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1999 and RA 9003 or the Philippine Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
“Hazardous waste disposal is done through DENR-accredited hazardous waste service contractors, which is in charge in the treatment, storage and disposal of all hazardous and infectious waste generated in all health centers and district hospitals in the City of Manila,” he said in a statement issued Wednesday.
The local chief executive said biohazard waste and infectious waste materials, such as syringes and test kits, are placed in puncture-proof plastic containers with 10-percent Clorox.
Meanwhile, test tubes, gloves, cotton balls, pipette tips, and used PPEs (personal protective equipment) are placed in a yellow plastic bag.
Domagoso also said that the city government stopped using rapid test kits on July 15 after they were able to purchase COVID-19 serology testing machines.