By Chito Chavez
With the onset of the rainy season, the Department of Health and various cause-oriented groups have called on the public to practice the “seal up, trap up, and clean up” scheme as deterrent to leptospirosis and other similar diseases.
The method calls for the sealing up of holes inside and outside the homes to prevent the entry of rodents.
The group also said that the pests should be trapped to reduce its population adding that rodent food sources and nesting sites should be cleaned to help decrease their population.
EcoWaste Coalition has strongly pushed for ecological management of discards as the number of leptospirosis cases in some regions continues to soar.
It pressed the country’s barangay officials to adopt waste prevention and reduction measures to avoid garbage from piling up and to avert flooding caused by trash-choked waterways.
The Department of Health (DOH) in the previous year reported a rise in leptospirosis cases as uncollected garbage further aggravated flooding incidents due to continuous rains.
“Poor waste management attracts rodent infestation and increases the risk of human exposure to the leptospirosis-causing bacteria transmitted through rat urine,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Rats thrive in filthy surroundings such as garbage dumps where they go to find food, rest, and hide. Improper trash disposal can also obstruct canals and rivers causing flooding, which forces rats to flee floods and seek shelter on higher ground. This makes wading and swimming in flooded areas very dangerous as floodwaters may be contaminated with Leptospira bacteria from infected rats,” he added.
Alejandre said it is imperative for barangays to enforce Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which aims to protect public health and the environment from mismanaged discards.
R.A. 9003 requires the more than 42,000 barangays in the country to develop an ecological solid waste management program, promote waste segregation, implement a segregated collection for biodegradable and non-biodegradable discards, and set up Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in every barangay or cluster of barangays.
“Ecological solid waste management can help not only in preventing leptospirosis, but also in preventing cholera, dengue, gastroenteritis, typhoid fever, and other common diseases during the rainy season,” he added.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans through cuts and abrasions of the skin, or through the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth with water contaminated with the urine of infected animals.”