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DENR wants stricter policies on anti-microbial products

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
DENR wants stricter policies on anti-microbial products
In a statement issued yesterday, the DENR said that high concentrations of antibiotics cause “irreversible environmental contamination” that may, in turn, affect the country’s ecological sustainability.
twitter.com / DENROfficial

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has called for stronger policies on the use and disposal of anti-microbial products as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement issued yesterday, the DENR said that high concentrations of antibiotics cause “irreversible environmental contamination” that may, in turn, affect the country’s ecological sustainability.

“Important policy measures that target specific high-risk environments with elevated concentrations of antibiotics, such as wastewater treatment plants in hospitals, health care facilities, and pharmaceutical industries are of utmost importance,” DENR Undersecretary for field operations and environment, Juan Miguel Cuna, said.

“The proper use and disposal policies of these antibiotics are vital in maintaining ecological sustainability,” he added.

Cuna, during the “World Antimicrobial Awareness Week” media forum held last Nov. 18, said that the rise in antibiotic consumption can bring permanent damage to the environment and can also “endanger the health of humans and animals.”

“To improve knowledge and awareness on the impacts of antibiotic residues on the environment, there is a need to explain the causal relationship between their presence and effects on the ecosystem to avoid irreversible consequences,” he said.

Cuna said there is also a need for multisectoral collaboration in addressing the pressing issue of antimicrobial resistance.

“The emergent issue of antibiotic residues and antimicrobial resistance is a complex phenomenon that requires collaborative approaches and efforts from government, relevant organizations and stakeholders,” he said.

According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance may develop when the bacteria in soil, rivers and seawater are always in contact with the chemicals found in antibiotics and disinfectant agents released by human activity.

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