April 2, 2023

The presence of healthcare items, mostly face masks scattered in various areas should be a cause of alarm, especially since its improper disposal is potentially harming the environment.
To put a stop to this harmful practice, a proposed resolution was filed at the city council tasking the City Health Services Office to coordinate with the departments of Health and Environment and Natural Resources to ensure proper and prompt disposal of medical waste and healthcare items.
Aside from face masks, other healthcare items that are indiscriminately disposed are syringes, overalls, and other materials used as protection from getting infected of the Covid-19.
Proponent Councilor Isabelo Cosalan, Jr. said hospitals, clinics, and other establishments such as isolation and quarantine areas need to be reminded about the protocols in the disposal of medical and healthcare waste.
“They need to be reminded of the proper handling, treatment, and disposal of Covid-19 waste materials in view of the volume and frequency of materials used, as well as the unpredictable character of the virus,” Cosalan said.
He said the improper and indiscriminate disposal of personal protective equipment and other medical paraphernalia is now a worldwide concern and should be addressed not only to stop the spread of pathogenic microorganisms but also to protect the environment.
Since last year, the DENR has been appealing to the public to properly dispose face masks and face shields.
The DENR said aside from following the minimum health protocols, the public should also be responsible in the proper disposal of healthcare items especially since some these items, such as disposal facemasks, have already affected terrestrial and aquatic animals.
“We have seen that while face masks protect us, these have become the newest threat to animal life because of entanglement, and have added up to marine litter,” Environment Sec. Roy Cimatu said in a statement published in the DENR’s website in March 2021.
The DENR also urged the public to properly segregate used face masks from solid wastes and label them properly when disposing.
The proposal will be discussed in the Feb. 14 session of the city council. – Rimaliza A. Opiña