Gov’t to check health of cleanup workers

September 9, 2006

By Lory Ann B. Bilbao

ILOILO CITY–The Department of Health (DOH)-Center for Health Development (CHD) in the region is checking on the health condition of 2,749 cleanup and oil containment workers in Guimaras Island.

In the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) report, the DOH here expressed concern over the health safety of cleanup workers as they are the most exposed to oil spill by air and physical contact.

It has recommended that a medical examination of the workers before and after oil spill cleanup will be done.

It was reported that most of the patients who have sought for medical consultations in Provincial Health Office and DOH mobile clinics were cleanup workers.

The DOH also deemed it necessary to completely decontaminate Personal Protective Equipment(PPE)/clothing and contaminated skin in the worksite in a specific area and collect and dispose washings in an environmentally appropriate manner-appropriate PPEs (gloves-neoprene/nitrile, chemical resistant boots, chemical cartridge respirators, coveralls with long pants and goggles).

Air pollutants like hydrogen sulfide were already detected in mostly affected areas in Nueva Valencia like La Paz.

Meanwhile, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya said government assistance to the different towns of Guimaras affected by the oil slick will not stop as long as it is needed, even after the Cash for Work Project would no longer be in effect.

Andaya was responding to the many unarticulated questions of the residents of Nueva Valencia and the other barangays affected.

Barangay Salvacion Chairperson Nelfa Gaurana said as long as the jobless fisher folks are engaged in Cash for Work program of Petron and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the effects of the oil spill on their livelihood cannot be intensely felt, but when the project ends, the people will surely feel the pinch of poverty.

About 40 percent of the more than 2,000 population of Barangay Salvacion, the first venue of the National Disaster Coordinating Council Meeting presided by President Arroyo in the island, are dependent on marine resources for their survival.

(For the full stories, click Sunstar, Sept. 9, 2006.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: