Tuesday, 01 December 2020
Sarangani readies treatment facility for Covid-19, hospital waste

Sarangani readies treatment facility for Covid-19, hospital waste

ALABEL, Sarangani (August 31, 2020) – The emerging need for the safe management of healthcare waste especially during this COVID-19 pandemic has prompted Sarangani officials to prepare for the operation of the Sarangani Medical Waste Treatment Facility (SMWTF) soon.

“The SMWTF is more essential today amid the pandemic. The full operation of this facility can help to contain the spread of the virus not only in Sarangani Province but also in adjacent city and provinces,” said Rolando Tuballes, provincial environment and natural resources officer. “The sanitary landfill is one of the most important components of the facility.”

“I would like to thank Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, Board Member Joseph Calanao -SP chairman on Budget and Appropriations and SP Committee on Environment chair Irish Arnado to the commitment to find ways and means for the budget for the construction of sanitary landfill before the year-end of 2020.”

“Likewise, words of appreciation go also to all Board Members who are very supportive with this initiative,” Tuballes added.

Tuballes said “the order of Governor is to make it operational especially that we are in a pandemic.”

Tuballes pointed out, however, that the “urgency” to operate the SMWTF was directed by the governor for PENRO to come up with an efficient system on hospital waste management even before COVID-19 hit.

The influx of Locally Stranded Individuals to Region 12 coming from some parts of the country where local transmission is high has increased the number of COVID-19 positive cases in Sarangani since the Hatid Probinsya program of the national government started.

The SMWTF uses Pyroclave Optima, a proprietary technology utilizing pyrolysis of decomposing waste. This would treat medical waste such as infectious waste, pathological waste, pharmaceutical waste, syringes, and needles.

During the commissioning on July 23, Engr. Mary Ann Zabala, project in-charge of RAD Green Solutions Corporation who manufactured the Pyroclave, showed Governor Solon the decomposition process using extreme heat but without direct contact with the waste materials.

Pyroclave is one of the best non-incineration technologies available in the market today.

Sarangani is the 8th in the country to use this technology.

The SMWTF in Barangay Bagacay is worth P19 million. The SMWTF will also serve as an economic enterprise as all provincial-run hospitals that will be using the facility will be paying fees for its operation and maintenance.

SMWTF collection of infectious waste from the provincial-run hospitals will be done by a biohazard truck.

A 2-hectare sanitary landfill is projected to be constructed by the end of December, a requirement Tuballes pointed out for SMWTF to finally operate.

He estimated it to last about five to seven years but the plan to operate SMWTF as an economic enterprise is expected to lessen its life span.

Tuballes said constructing a 2-hectare sanitary landfill would make SMWTF to last “15 to 20 years.”

Tuballes said a project proposal has been submitted for supplemental budget in the amount of P12.9 million needed for the construction of sanitary landfill, construction of one administrative building, office equipment and fixtures and support to the administrative function and operation of SMWTF.

“If we can construct a sanitary landfill and finish it by the end of December 2020, we can start the full operation by the first quarter of 2021,” Tuballes said.

“Another project proposal is also submitted for 2021 for the maintenance and operation of the facility including the training and seminars in the management of toxic and hazardous waste and the advocacy/information and education dissemination of COVIC-19 waste management in the amount of P2,455,554,” Tuballes added.

The six province-run hospitals in the municipalities, in his calculation, aggregately produce an average of 120 kilograms of medical waste daily.

Dr. Arvin Alejandro, provincial health officer, however, clarified the average 20 kilograms that each hospital disposed daily is “infectious wastes only.”

He said infectious wastes coming from the hospitals are being gathered by other agencies while other infectious wastes are being treated at the hospital level.

“Vials and syringes,” Alejandro said, “are being put into a container. When it’s about three-fourths filled, disinfectant solutions are being filled up into the container then cemented. So, this is not hazardous anymore.”

He said this waste management that hospitals in the province practice has been recommended by the World Health Organization. (Beverly C. Paoyon/SARANGANI PROVINCIAL INFORMATION OFFICE)

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