The Manila City government’s health department and six district hospitals have been strictly complying with protocols on disposal of hazardous waste, including used rapid test kits, Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso stressed on Wednesday, September 2.

This after used rapid test kits were scattered along M. Dela Fuente Street in Sampaloc, Manila on Tuesday night, September 1. CCTV footage provided by Mayor Domagoso showed the kits fell from a punctured garbage bag attached on a pedicab.

The Mayor said the Manila City government and the Manila Police District (MPD) have begun probing who was responsible for improperly disposing used rapid test kits in the city.

He also warned all clinics, laboratories, businesses and corporations in the City of Manila that failure to properly dispose hazardous waste would face closure orders, adding that charges for improper waste management will be filed against them.

“Mayroong responsable sa sitwasyon na ito and we are now looking kung saang nanggaling yung improper disposal of hazardous materials,” Domagoso told reporters in an ambush interview at the Quirino Grandstand.

“We can locate maybe the clinic, maybe a private office, maybe a hospital, or maybe a laboratory. [The MPD said] they are looking already at sinisiyasat na ‘yung nangyari,” he said.

After the incident in Sampaloc was reported to the Manila City government, Domagoso immediately ordered the Manila Department of Public Services (DPS) to properly dispose the scattered used rapid test kits.

“We sent our DPS para linisin agad ‘yung kinalat na used rapid testing kit. Ang good news, at least alam nating hindi sinadya,” he said.

Domagoso stressed that the Manila City government has already stopped using rapid test kits since July 15 after they were able to purchase COVID-19 serology testing machines from American healthcare firm Abbott.

“The City Government of Manila, which includes the Manila Health Department (MHD) and its six district hospitals, has halted the use of rapid test kits since July 15, 2020, which is when the city has already started its free drive-thru serology testing,” the Mayor said in a statement.

Domagoso said the local government strictly complies with Republic Act No. 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1999) and Republic Act No. 9003 (Philippine Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000) in disposing used rapid test kits.

“We are compliant with the mandate of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on the proper disposal of hazardous and infectious waste, which is a strict requirement to be granted a license to operate from the Department of Health (DOH) annually,” Domagoso said.

“Hazardous waste disposal is done through DENR-accredited hazardous waste service contractors, which is in charge in the treatment, storage and disposal of all hazardous and infectious waste generated in all health centers and district hospitals in the City of Manila,” he said.

The Mayor also stressed that “all wastes generated are properly handled and treated prior to its final disposal.”

“Biohazard wastes and other infectious waste materials such as syringes, sharps and test kits are placed in puncture-proof plastic containers with 10-percent Clorox,” Domagoso said.

“Test tubes, gloves, cotton balls, pipette tips and used PPEs (personal protective equipment) are placed in a yellow plastic bag,” the Mayor explained. —JNL