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DENR eyes COVID-19 waste treatment, storage facilities

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is seeking a budget of P181.6 million for the establishment of preliminary treatment and storage facilities for COVID-19-related healthcare waste in 227 local government units (LGUs) nationwide.

The DENR said it plans to provide funds to the LGUs through the Environmental Management Bureau for the proper collection, treatment, storage and disposal of protective personal equipment, syringes, vials and other COVID-related healthcare wastes from households, vaccination sites as well as testing and quarantine facilities.

The agency said the allocation would be taken from its P774-million solid waste management program budget for next year.

Each LGU will receive P800,000 for the establishment of a special waste facility.

“While COVID-19 cases in the country have started to decline, healthcare waste generated by the situation have continuously become a challenge among cities and provinces. Through this program, we hope to support LGUs in improving the collection of COVID-19 related healthcare waste especially in remote areas and among small generators that are not serviced by treatment, storage and disposal facilities,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said.

The DENR clarified that the COVID-19 healthcare waste program for LGUs does not cover medical waste from hospitals.

The solid waste management program budget for next year also include support for the establishment of trash traps, collection and disposal services for garbage patches, provision of solid waste management equipment such as shredders, composters and plastic recycling equipment for LGUs as well as hauling services for solid waste collected in Boracay.

In April 2020, the National Solid Waste Management Commission led by the DENR issued Resolution 1364 directing LGUs to develop a COVID-19 waste management plan.

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