Hospital blames contractor for medical waste
BAGUIO CITY — A hospital here, charged with polluting a creek in Benguet province with medical waste, has blamed its contractor for accidentally digging up its garbage pit.
The Baguio Medical Center has been building a new parking lot when its contractor dug syringes and other biological wastes in the work site, said Dr. Jennifer Balatian, BMC medical director, at a technical conference called by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) on Wednesday.
Gravel was dumped on three lots on Marcos Highway in the village of Taloy Sur in Tuba town and hospital waste mixed with the earth washed down into the creek during strong rains.
Balatian said the hospital was forced to build a new parking area when its parking spaces were eaten by a road-widening project of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
She said the hospital had told the contractor about the old hospital waste dump underneath the work area to make sure it would not be disturbed by excavations.
She said the contractor did not inform the hospital where the soil and hospital waste were dumped.
“We relied on the contractor to secure all the necessary permits and for the proper disposal of the material hauled from the excavation site,” she said.
But Onofre Calam-ang, the contractor, insisted he was unaware of the hospital dump.
“I was told only that there might be garbage in the area,” he said. “I assumed it was normal waste, not hospital waste,” he added.
Reynaldo Digamo, EMB Cordillera director, said BMC was still liable being the source of the waste that polluted the creek.
“BMC has primary responsibility as the generator of the hospital waste, but the contractor, and even the lot owners, are also liable,” he said.
Citing the agreement between BMC and the contractor, proper disposal of hospital waste was not the responsibility of the contractor, Digamo said.
“Diligence is demanded,” he said. —Kimberlie Quitasol
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