Envi-groups laud DOH scrapping of incinerator plan
Source: N/A, Date: August , 2010
This was the call of Health Care Without Harm-Southeast Asia (HCWH-SEA),
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Greenpeace and
Ecowaste Coalition in a round table discussion with the Department of
Health (DoH) where the later announced the scrapping of planned revival
The DoH's draft Health Executive Agenda for Legislation proposed
amendment of the Clean Air Act (1) to allow the use of incinerators
designed in such a way that product combustion gases shall be treated
and harmful emissions are removed before gases are released to the
atmosphere and (2) advance emission control design and stringent
regulation shall ensure wastes are disposed without detrimental impact
to the environment.
The four organizations immediately questioned the proposal and sent a
letter asking the Department to scrap the plan. DoH immediately
retracted the plan and said it will no longer include incineration in
the HEAL which will be presented in Congress.
Cancel incinerator plan, cancel incinerator debt
The groups likewise asked the DoH to take an active role in pushing the
Legislative to cancel the debt payment for the P503-million Austrian
Medical Waste Incinerator Project.
The government started paying the loan in 2001 and is scheduled to pay an average US$2 million a year until 2014.
It is the group's assertion that the annual payment of the debt of US$2M
should be re-channeled to much needed health services, specifically
funding for safe waste treatment and disposal of public hospitals and
other health care facilities' infectious wastes.
In 1999, Philippines successfully banned the use of incinerators for
general wastes and subsequently the use of incinerators for medical
waste in 2003 "which process emits poisonous and toxic fumes" with the
approval of the CAA. The country remains the only country in the world
to ban incinerators.
According to the group of environmentalists, "We are paying for
supposedly state-of-the-art medical waste incinerators that were proven
to be substandard and emitting dioxins way beyond the limit set by CAA.
One of these incinerators, for instance, scandalously emitted nine times
the limit for particulate matter, twelve times the limit set for
hydrogen chloride, almost double the limit for lead and 870 times the
limit for dioxins and furans compared to the CAA threshold."
HCWH-SEA highlighted the presence of alternatives to incineration which
are far safer. They cited several hospitals who for years have used the
basics of waste management. These are waste minimization, segregation,
proper training and knowledge of safe non-burn treatment systems and
"There is no need for us to go back to incineration," according to Merci
Ferrer of HCWH-SEA. "What DOH and other government agencies concerned
on wastes should do is sustain their efforts in monitoring the
compliance of health care facilities on proper health care waste
management and be vigilant on the resurgence of incinerators in the
guise of pyrolisis, plasma, thermal oxidizer?" (PIA) [top]