The Department of Health today reminded hospitals and local governments to properly dispose of personal protective equipment (PPEs), after used masks and gloves — some of which had blood — were seen strewn along White Plains Avenue in Edsa in the wee hours of this morning.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters that there are existing protocols in place for healthcare waste management even before the pandemic, which includes marking trash as health care waste and informing garbage collectors of it. She reminded authorities to continue observing these protocols especially since the coronavirus can stick to objects, which have the possibility of infecting people.
“If [that waste] litters on the streets and our garbage collectors are not wearing their gloves…or even when they are wearing their gloves, if they miss out and touch their faces, they might get infected,” Vergeire said in English and Filipino.
Around six ripped-open garbage bags littered White Plains Avenue’s northbound lanes before 5 am. Apart from face masks and gloves, PPE suits, as well as used tissue and diapers, plastic water bottles, and cups had littered the busy highway. The city’s traffic agency, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has deployed personnel to clear the stretch of road.
It’s unclear who is responsible for the discarded materials, but MMDA traffic chief Bong Nebrija said some of the PPEs bore the logo of a hospital which he refused to name. Nebrija has asked the police to investigate the incident.
The Philippines has a longstanding problem with trash disposal, especially when it comes to plastic and single-use items, many of which find its way to the city’s water streams.
This article, Ew, Gross: Health Dep’t stresses safe trash disposal after used PPEs litter Edsa, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.