Date: 28 July 2020 (Tuesday)
Time: 2:00 PM (Manila time)
Description: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, medical wastes are expected to surge in communities.
According to Crispin Lao, Vice Chair of the National Solid Waste Management Commission, the lockdown caused a sharp increase in medical wastes. In addition, he mentioned that there is another category of waste coming from households, including masks, which may also be infectious. With a population of 14 million in the Philippine capital Manila, additional medical wastes during the pandemic would amount to 280 tons (280, 000 kilograms) per day or 16,800 tons (16.8 million kilograms) in 60 days.
Garbage contaminated with infectious materials has become a concern for hospitals as the COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the country. Personal protective equipment (PPE), mostly made of plastic, constitutes the bulk of additional volume of medical wastes that built up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Green hospitals or those who implement sustainable practices in waste management, energy use, procurement, among others, are concerned that prior efforts to minimize single use plastic waste may be set aside due to the overwhelming use of single use PPEs in hospitals due to COVID-19. These green hospitals push for using washable PPEs without compromising the safety of healthcare workers.
UP-CIFAL Philippines, with its aim to promote the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, hosts another webinar that seeks to support local government units in ensuring efficient and effective waste management during this health crisis.