ILIGAN: Several private hospitals were allegedly dumping untreated, infectious waste near a creek in an upland village northeast of Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, posing a threat to health and the environment.
Datumanong Buslan, chairman of Barangay Bonbonon, said some private hospitals in Iligan City have been dumping their untreated medical noxious waste into unauthorized sites including the creek.
Barangay Bonbonon, about 7.5 kilometers northwest of the city, is one of the 44 villages of Iligan and an upland community with an area of 424 hectares and 1,510 population.
Village councilor Marivic Alia, chairman of the Environment Committee, said the city government has put up a vault or area for such waste considering the proximity of Bonbonon to the Central Materials Recycling Facility.
“But the hospitals are required to pay P400 per cubic meter to dump their waste into the Bonbonon vault,” Alia said.
Virgilio Encabo, City Environment and Management Office (CEMO) officer-in-charge, said they have conducted an independent investigation of the Bonbonon incident and found traces of burned waste near the creek.
“As early as October, when Alia reported the waste dumping, I dispatched a team to inspect the area. There were strong traces of infectious waste and in some cases were traces of burned waste near the creek.”
The CEMO has scheduled inspections of hospitals, clinics, funeral parlors, diagnostic centers and other businesses related to medical and biological waste.
The city council in November invited officials from Adventist Medical Center (AMC)/Mindanao Sanitarium, Mercy Community Hospital, Dr. Uy Hospital, E&R Hospital and Iligan Medical Center to a hearing.
Councilor Belinda Lim, chairman of the Health Committee, showed a power point presentation that revealed a large cache of waste coming from Adventist Medical Center.
Encabo said the Pollution Control Officer of AMC during the hearing claimed he could not remember how the waste got into the Bonbonon dumping ground.
The Health Committee said the hospitals have not been following the correct way of dumping untreated waste.
Meanwhile, the AMC pollution control officer was not available for comment as he was attending a seminar in Cagayan de Oro City while Rose Palacio, medical director of Mercy Community Hospital, said they have waste treatment facility.
Jocelyn Guantero, Pollution Control Officer of Dr. Uy Hospital, said they pay for the use of the vault and are now applying for a permit to transport waste.
Both the Iligan Medical Center and E&R Hospital claimed to have their own vault and waste treatment facilities.
TED KHAN R. JUANITE