Health, environmental advocates urge not to burn trash in cemeteries

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 28, 2019   •   495

Health and environmental advocates urge the public not to burn trash especially in cemeteries during the observance of Undas.

In a joint statement, public health expert Dr. Maricar Limpin and zero waste campaigner Jove Mendoza said there are health and environmental dangers in burning trash.

Exposure to these pollutants can cause breathing difficulties and trigger asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses, especially among children, the elderly and those already suffering from weakened immune systems,” Limpin said.

Meanwhile, Benosa reiterated that burning trash in public is prohibited. He said among the laws banning and penalizing open burning are Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, and Republic Act 8749, or the Clean Air Act.

“Instead of burning discards, we appeal to cemetery administrators and visitors to follow the provisions of RA 9003, which requires the segregation of discards at source and their ecological management such as by composting the biodegradables and recycling the recyclables,” said Benosa.—AAC

Beat the heat: How to prevent heat exhaustion, heat stroke

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 5, 2020

Metro Manila recorded the highest air temperature so far on Monday (May 4).

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) recorded a soaring 36.5 degrees Celsius or an equivalent to a heat index of 41.0 degrees Celsius

With the intense heat and the ongoing enhanced community quarantine, anyone can suffer from heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion is a condition marked by weakness, nausea, dizziness, and profuse sweating that results from physical exertion in a hot environment.

Emergency Doctor Dr. Rich Santos said heat exhaustion can result in heat stroke. Heat stroke happens when an individual’s temperature reaches 41 degrees Celsius.

“Pwede ring magkaroon ng manifestation na nagkakaroon ka ng totoong stroke gaya ng paghina ng katawan. Kapag tumagal ka sa ganoong kundisyon pwede itong maging sanhi ng pagkamatay, (You can also have manifestations of a real stroke like fatigue. If the condition lasts if might become a cause of death)” he said.

Santos also said that recovering from a heat stroke can take weeks to months.

Symptoms of heat stroke:

  • Warm, flushed skin
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Very high fever of 41°C
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Convulsion
  • Unconsciousness

Here are several lifesaving tips when someone is having heat exhaustion or heat stroke:

  • Move the person to a shady spot or indoors
  • Have him/her lie down with legs elevated
  • If able to drink liquids, have him/her sip cool water
  • Remove clothing, apply cool water to the skin, & fan the person
  • Apply ice packs to the armpits, wrists, ankles & groin

The Department of Health (DOH) said to always keep hydrated to prevent heat exhaustion and schedule heavy-duty activities for the beginning or end of the day, when it’s cooler. AAC

No need for gyms, DOH advises public to exercise at home amid ECQ

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 28, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) urges the public to exercise at home amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

With the extension of the ECQ in high-risk areas, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they are still not going to recommend opening fitness gyms.

She said fitness centers are among the establishments that will remain temporarily closed to prevent the further spread of the virus.

“Sa tuwing iminumungkahi namin na mag-exercise para palakasin ang ating resistensiya, ang ibig naming sabihin dito ay ehersisyo sa loob ng ating bahay hangga’t makakaya, (Every time we suggest exercising to improve your immunity, we mean to exercise inside your homes as much as possible),” she said.

Meanwhile, there are barangays that conduct zumba classes while adhering to social distancing protocols. AAC

Hazard pay for garbage collectors urged amid COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   April 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – While everyone is advised to wash hands regularly, perhaps it’s a difficult case for garbage collectors.

Like healthcare workers, household and medical waste collectors are among the frontliners whose job is essential especially during this time when the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is in effect due to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This prompted the environmental group EcoWaste Coalition to appeal to the national government to provide garbage collectors the hazard pay they deserve for being exposed to COVID-19 as they are handling potentially dangerous or infectious waste.

EcoWaste Coalition President Eileen Sison, in a letter addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte, argued that “the lack of clear-cut regulations for the disposal of waste from households and the increase of infectious waste from healthcare facilities justify the provision of hazard pay for garbage collectors.”

“We believe that garbage collectors are entitled to hazard pay—regardless of their employment status—due to the risk they face in the performance of essential waste management services, which can be considered hazardous, especially under the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the coronavirus outbreak,” Sison said arguing that garbage collectors also deserve cash compensation like all frontliners from the medical field.

“Without their indispensable service, we may be faced with even more environmental and health hazards from uncollected waste,” she added.

In March, President Duterte signed Administrative Order 26 authorizing the grant of hazard pay to government personnel who physically report for work during the period of implementation of an enhanced community quarantine relative to the COVID-19 outbreak

But the EcoWaste Coalition said the same privilege may not apply to most garbage collectors as they are hired only by waste management agencies that are usually contracted by local government units (LGUs).

Thus, it urged the concerned government agencies like the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Budget Management (DBM) “to use moral suasion to strongly encourage employers of garbage collectors” to grant them daily hazard pay even at least during the community quarantine period.

The group appealed to the national government “to take on such responsibility with urgency as a humanitarian gesture in these most trying times” in case some waste management companies and LGUs will be financially constrained to provide the hazard pay.

On Tuesday (April 7), the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) confirmed that President Duterte approved the extension of the ECQ for two more weeks or until the end of the month, as COVID-19 cases in the country rapidly increased.

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