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COA flags trash pileup in Bulacan hospitals.

The Commission on Audit (COA) has called the attention of the Bulacan government over uncollected and improperly stored biological waste from seven public hospitals in the province.

In its annual audit report released on May 23, the COA described the uncollected waste as a public health hazard.

According to the report, biological waste from Bulacan Medical Center in the City of Malolos, Rogaciano M. Mercado Memorial Hospital in Santa Maria town and Emilio G. Perez Memorial District Hospital in Hagonoy town were not properly bagged and stored.

The COA said Baliuag District Hospital, San Miguel District Hospital and Calumpit District Hospital were able to implement an organized handling and storage system for hospital waste, but the trash had not been collected for at least six months.

It said that while Gregorio del Pilar District Hospital in Bulakan town had an 'organized disposal of hospital waste' in color-coded bags, the lack of a suitable space for temporary storage was still a hazard since the bags were merely left stacked on the second-floor balcony of the hospital building.

Assignment

'Hazardous and infectious waste generated by seven district hospitals were not regularly collected from six months to one year, [exposing] hospital patients, health workers and the general public to the danger of human waste, infectious diseases and other toxic waste,' the audit body said.

The improper handling and collection of the biowaste are due in part to the provincial government's lack of proper assignments on who should be responsible for the trash. Solid waste management was assigned to the General Services Office (GSO) instead of the Bulacan Environmental and Natural Resources Office, the report said.

However, since the GSO is mainly in charge of quarrying and revenue generation activities, oversight on solid waste management was not effectively discharged, the report said.

'No specific department or office was [tasked] with solid waste and hospital waste management,' the report added.

Old issues

But Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado on Thursday said the COA findings were old issues that had already been addressed by the provincial government.

He said the province had contracted a company called Clean Way to collect trash from the hospitals.

But Alvarado said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' (DENR) Central Luzon office had yet to issue environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) to some of these public hospitals, which were needed to allow Clean Way to transport their trash.

He said the GSO and provincial engineering office would temporarily collect hospital waste pending the issuance of ECCs.

Protacio Bajao, director of Bulacan Medical Center, said the hospital had received its ECC from the DENR, allowing Clean Way to collect its trash regularly.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jun 7, 2019
Words:504
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