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Cebu hospitals dumping wastes in waters of Mactan Island

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CEBU CITY — The City Government of Lapu-Lapu on Wednesday cautioned fishermen in the tourist island of Mactan against fishing, and tourists, against swimming along the shores of Barangay Ibo where hospital wastes were found floating.

This, as the Lapu-Lapu City Attorney’s Office on Tuesday sent letters to the two hospitals whose names appeared on some of the medical trash, asking them to explain why those ended up in the sea of Mactan, City Legal Officer Ethelbert Ouano said.

According to Charles Vailoces, spokesperson of Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, the latter has been alarmed by a report that three human fingers were also found inside a garbage bag loaded with dextrose and blood containers, blood chemistry strips, fecal tubes, syringes, and kidney trays, among others, floating at the shore.

Vailoces told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the two private hospitals have already acknowledged receiving the show cause order from the City Attorney’s Office.

The hospital wastes were discovered when netizens posted on social media photos of them floating along the shores of Barangay Ibo. The report said the wastes bore the names of both Chong Hua Hospital and Ignacio Cortes General Hospital in Mandaue.

The Chong Hua hospital management has initiated a probe on the incident. Its statement released to media said they outsource the disposal of their hospital trashes.

“Mayor Paz has condemned it. It’s alarming because we know that garbage coming the hospitals may be infectious,” Vailoces said. “We need to be cautious so not to expose our fishermen, our residents, and tourists from possible harm.”

Vailoces said the city government suspects the hospital wastes came from the adjacent city of Mandaue.

“Tungod tingale sa holiday break, nagtinapulan ang contractors nayabo lang sa dagat. Tungod sa current, naanod dinhi sa Lapu-Lapu (Due to the holiday break, the contractors paid to dispose of the garbage could have thrown them to the sea. The current could have brought them to Lapu-Lapu),” he said.

Environmental Management Bureau-Central Visayas Regional Director William Cuñado said a team was already sent to coordinate with the city officials of Lapu-Lapu in cleaning up the shores from the dreaded hospital wastes.

Department of Health-Central Visayas (DOH-7) Regional Director Jaime Bernadas told the PNA that their environmental occupational health officers were deployed to probe the incident.

Bernadas said they will ask the two hospitals about the circumstances that led to their garbage ending up at the shore of Mactan Island.

Health and sanitation team from the agency as well as from the local government unit were able to recover a few boxes of hospital trash, he said.

Bernadas said his office is already aware that the hospitals have been contracting third party firms for their waste disposal. (PNA)