BAGUIO CITY – Health Secretary Franciso Duque III recently ordered the phased implementation of the prohibition on the unnecessary use of single-use plastics in hospitals, other health facilities and offices of the health department.
Under Department Order No. 0486, the health department is advancing the implementation on the prohibition of the unnecessary use of single-use plastics in hospitals and other health facilities starting next year.
Based on the said order, personnel, visitors and clientele o fDOH central, regional, provincial offices and DOH attached agencies, including the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Philippine National AIDS Council, Philippine Institute of Traditional Alternative Health Care and National Nutrition Council (NNC) will be prohibited from using single use plastics starting January 1, 2022.
On July, 1, 2022, the coverage of the prohibition will be expanded to health care workers and personnel of government hospitals, treatment and rehabilitation and other health facilities.
On January 1, 2023, the prohibition will already include patients, including their visitors, relatives, carers or companions and other clients in government hospitals, treatment and rehabilitation centers and other health facilities.
Secretary Duque pointed out that the health sector has a part in looking after the welfare of all Filipinos by addressing the issue of health care waste at the source, which is more economically and environmentally beneficial.
He claimed that the mitigation in the unnecessary use of single-use plastics saves the cost of services and also promotes sustainable waste management in the health facilities.
The Secretary disclosed that findings from hospital waste audits initiated by the Health Facility Development Bureau (HFDB) revealed that approximately 40 percent of waste generated are single-use plastics mostly brought in by patients’ relatives and companions.
He ordered all concerned health facilities and offices, as well as the Ministry of Health of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to issue similar directives on the said matter.
Among the single-use plastics that are prohibited to be used in the said facilities include plastic cups (lower than 0.2mm in thickness); plastic drinking straws; plastic coffee stirrers; plastic spoons; plastic forks; plastic knives and plastic labo and thin-film sando bags (lower than 15 microns).
However, Duque explained that the current situation of the public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been taken into consideration where the public has resorted to single-use materials as means for infection prevention and control, hence, the phased implementation on the coverage of the prohibition shall be imposed in 3 phases for ease in the transition.
The said order is in accordance to Resolution No. 1363, series of 2020 by the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which directed the DENR to prepare and implement the banning of the use of unnecessary single-use plastics by national government agencies, local government units and all other government controlled offices. By Hent