City officials want the City Health Services Office (CHSO) and the City General Services Office (CGSO) to promptly coordinate with the Cordillera offices of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CAR) for the strict monitoring of the proper disposal of toxic and hazardous waste as a result of the intensified and continuous Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) response of the city government to ensure public health and safety.
Under Resolution No. 066, series of 2022, local legislators pointed out that the toxic waste materials should be properly disposed of to avoid another infection point or source in compliance to the pertinent provisions of existing environmental laws and Ordinance No. 18, series of 2016, or the Environment Code of Baguio City.
The council stated that the intensified and continuous response of the government to control the COVID-19 pandemic has reportedly generated a myriad of environmental concerns, including the proper disposal of hazardous waste materials which can be harmful to people and the environment if not properly handled by concerned government agencies and the local government.
The body admitted that it is a national concern as information coming out from media outlets that waste materials such as used syringes, personal protective equipment, vials and other hazardous medical supplies utilized in the ongoing COVID-19 response were seen in areas indiscriminately strewn putting the health and safety of people at risk that might cause surges in other health concerns that might compromise the local health care system and cause undue stress to the frontliners.
According to the council, local hospitals, laboratories, clinics and other authorized establishments operating as COVID-19 isolation, quarantine, treatment or vaccination areas need to be reminded of the proper handling, treatment and disposal of COVID-19 related waste materials in view of the rapidly increasing volume and frequency of hazardous materials used as well as the unpredictable character of the virus of concern.
Further, there is also a need for concerned government agencies and the local government to constantly remind residents to properly dispose of their hazardous waste to prevent putting to risk the health and safety of barangay officials and garbage collectors who are in charge of monitoring the dumping of household waste in identified garbage pick-up points in the city’s barangays.
The council admitted that there has been a significant increase in the volume of hazardous waste being disposed of not only by residents but also medical institutions like hospitals, clinics, laboratories among others as per report of the GSO that is why there is a need for concerned government agencies and the local government to institute the appropriate measures to strictly monitor the disposal of the same so as not to put to risk the health and safety of the barangay officials and the garbage collectors as well as the public in general.
The council advised residents and the management of health facilities to ensure that their hazardous waste are properly labeled when being disposed of in the identified garbage pick-up points in their barangays to prevent the same from being a cause of another infection that will thrive in the city that might pose a serious threat to the health and safety of people.