Measures up to protect public from hazardous hospital waste

The Negros Oriental provincial government is taking precautionary measures that would ensure the safety and protection of the people from hospital waste dumped at a vacant lot in this capital city, a health official said Thursday. Dr. Liland Estacion, PHO chief, told the Philippine News Agency the disposal of hospital waste from the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH) in an adjacent vacant lot is just temporary as they await the arrival of a PHP20 million medical waste shredder. 'We have no alternative at the moment but to dispose of the hospital waste at the back of the NOPH, but rest assured we are taking proactive measures to ensure public safety,' Estacion said in mixed English and Cebuano. Without giving specifics, the PHO chief said the shredder with disinfection features is set to arrive soon. Once the hospital waste has passed through the shredder, it will become 'regular garbage' that can be brought to the city's dumpsite, she said. In the meantime, daily disinfection and spraying of the hospital waste at the back of the NOPH is being done by at least four people, specifically assigned by the provincial government for that purpose, she added. They are also made to wear personal protective gear to prevent them from contracting disease. Regarding the foul smell coming from the garbage dump, Estacion said this is because the waste has to be regularly stirred. The temporary dump is fenced off and with a roofed structure where the refuse is covered with soil, the PHO chief said. Meanwhile, Estacion said the province does not yet have an agreement with an Iloilo City-based firm that specializes in the disposal of hospital waste. There are specific and stringent requirements for hazardous waste disposal and an agreement with the said firm is an option that is being considered, she said. Source: Philippines News agency