Zeis/Excel Care waste hauled to Bulacan treatment facility

Under the supervision of officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the five kilos of medical waste found dumped in the shore of Concepcion in Virac has been hauled away by a truck for treatment at a private waste processing facility in Bulacan.

Last Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Imelda Baltazar monitored the retrieval of the waste, which had been stored in two small plastic drums at the Virac Rural Health Unit’s designated storage room for the temporary hazardous waste materials.

UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF DENR OFFICIALS led by PENRO Imelda D. Baltazar (right photo, 2nd from left), the medical waste belonging to Zeis/Excel Care and stored in two small drums (right photo) is weighed before being loaded by personnel clad in Hazmat suits on board a truck of Envirocare Mgt. Precision, Inc. The same truck also carried the large, blue plastic drums containing medical waste from Virac Rural Health Unit, with the hazardous cargo to be disposed of at Envirocare’s waste disposal and treatment facility somewhere in Bulacan.

Also present were Zeis Polyclinic and Diagnostic Services, Inc. chairman Dr. Emmanuel Guerrero, Ruby Antonio of Envirocare Mgt. Precision Inc., the barangay council of Concepcion, and personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police.

Envirocare workers dressed in Hazmat suits retrieved the drums from the RHU storage room, along with the large blue drums containing the RHU’s medical waste and loaded them on the truck.

The waste will be taken to the company’s waste treatment and disposal facility in Guiguinto, Bulacan.

It was disclosed that, pursuant to existing guidelines, Envirocare will issue a certification to the Virac RHU and Zeis that the waste had been treated and disposed of within 45 days.

Until presstime, the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has yet to issue the results of its investigation into the dumping of Zeis’ medical waste on the Concepcion shore.

Zeis, which was supposed to renamed Excel Care Diagnostic and Wellness Care Clinic as advertised in its San Roque office, is one of the only two health laboratories in Virac that is registered with DENR-EMB as Hazardous Waste Generator.

Three other Virac labs as well as a private hospital is not in the list of hazardous waste provided by the agency to the Tribune.

On the other hand, the only registered hazardous waste transporter in Bicol is Zigs Eco-Sanitation Corporation in Daraga, Albay, which has its own waste disposal facility.

Zigs has existing contracts with several local government units in the mainland for the collection, transport and disposal of their hazardous waste.

Meanwhile, the EMB has disclosed that it had issued a Notice of Violation to Zeis in February 2021 for its failure to designate a Pollution Control Officer (PCO).

However, it did not say if their annual monitoring of health care waste generators in the province turned up similar violations, including the absence of proper medical waste management and storage.

Under Joint DENR-DOH Administrative Order No. 02, Series of 2005, the DENR-EMB is tasked with overseeing compliance by generators, transporters, TSD facility operators and final disposal facility operators with the proper transport, treatment, storage and disposal of health care wastes (HCW).

It is likewise supposed to notify DOH on cases of non-compliance or notice of violation issued to health care facilities, institutions and establishments licensed by DOH.

The DOH regional offices, on the other hand, are responsible for monitoring health care waste management practices in all hospitals and other health care facilities and ensure their compliance with all pertinent laws on HCW management.

All HCW generators are required to register with DENR-EMB and secure an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) while the DOH is responsible for issuing licenses to hospitals and other health facilities such as testing laboratories.

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