MANILA, Philippines – Hospitals and other health care services greatly endanger the country’s diminishing water supply because of improper disposal of infectious waste and toxic chemicals in canals and other bodies of water.
On the celebration of World Water Day yesterday, environment and health welfare group Health Care Without Harm-Southeast Asia (HCWH-SEA) said the healthcare industry disposes of toxic and infectious waste that do not undergo wastewater treatment, a process that removes physical, biological and chemical contaminants in wastewater, making it safe for reuse.
HCWH-SEAP Program Officer for Promotions of Best Practices Cristina Parungao said many of these chemicals, like glutaraldehyde, have been banned but are still being used in health care facilities.
“Add in broken thermometers, spilled mercury and infectious waste thrown into regular dustbins that are sent to landfills and open dumps. Garbage scavengers are automatically exposed to danger. But worst, these will all find their way into the soil and into the water,” Parungao said.
HCWH-SEA has been pushing for the phase out of mercury equipment in health care facilities and is working with the concerned government agencies to safely store the phased out tools.
“Imagine dumping all these chemicals from hospitals where they go directly to our water system. Without the health care sector knowing it, they are causing severe health problems instead of curing them,” Parungao said. –Katherine Adraneda (The Philippine Star)