The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) has successfully organized the 3rd National Conference of Chemical Laboratories (NCCL), held last October 16-17 at the Century Park Hotel in Manila. With the theme “Formulating Solutions to Chemical Wastes: The Chemistry Sector’s Social Responsibility”, this edition of the NCCL attracted more than four-hundred chemistry professionals and practitioners from the academe, government, and industry sectors, all with the pursuit of properly managing the chemical waste they generate.
The two-day event started off with the honorable Dr Adoracion Resurreccion, chair of the Board of Chemistry (BOC) of the Professional Regulation Commission, giving an update on important concerns regarding the chemistry profession such as the revised hazard pay guidelines, laboratory inspections, and customized mentoring on laboratory waste management. She also gave a brief summary on the results of this year’s chemist and chemical technician licensure examinations. Concerns of chemical laboratories which are yet to comply with the Chemistry Profession Act were also mentioned.
Ms Maria Josephine Gonzales (Nestle Philippines Inc) shared how Nestle’s chemical laboratories all over the country handle and eliminate the waste they generate. She stressed on the importance of investing in new laboratory tools and techniques to minimize the use of chemicals, thus minimizing waste created. Partnering with reliable and responsible waste treaters, she added, should be an integral part of any waste-generating facility such as a chemical laboratory or a factory.
Mr Roger Evangelista (Environmental Management Bureau) discussed how a laboratory’s chemical waste may be addressed through the implementation of a chemical management program, which is a documented procedure to make sure that chemicals are safely used and disposed of properly. With this, a laboratory should be able to comply with all applicable government regulations while reducing the risk associated with the hazards of certain chemicals.
Capping off the NCCL’s first day was Mr Reynaldo Esguerra of the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) of the Department of Science and Technology. He shared the best practices on how ITDI manages its laboratory waste. Being a generator of all types of waste, including biological and hazardous ones, the ITDI is compelled to have a centralized waste management facility to deal with them. Basic laboratory safety equipment such eyewash stations, mops for chemical spillage, among others, are sufficiently and strategically placed in their workplace.
The honorable Ms Teresa Cayton (member, BOC) started the second day with a report on the many chemical laboratories that the BOC has inspected this past year. She shared that while a lot of them are complying with the law, some continue to dispose of their waste using unfavorable methods. Other observations on waste disposal such as improper labelling of containers, misdeclaration of waste contents, and improper waste management procedure were also revealed. Ms Cayton challenged the audience to ensure that their respective laboratories handle waste properly and with utmost care.
CRL Environmental Corporation’s Ms Maria Carmela Capule, also serving as president of the ICP Region 3 Chapter, discussed practical approaches on managing hazardous chemical waste derived from physico-chemical laboratories. She gave a detailed procedure on how her company processes these wastes, and stressed on the adage “from cradle to grave”, the golden rule of chemical management which means that a laboratory is responsible until the waste it generated has been disposed of properly.
Mr Stephen Tronco (Integrated Waste Management Inc.) discussed how thermal treatment may be used as a new approach in dealing with hazardous chemical waste. He gave a thorough run-down on how pyrolysis works on different types of waste such as plastics and hazardous chemicals.
Lastly, Mr Ariel Entico (Envirocare Management and Precision, Inc.) gave a talk on the proper handling and transport of chemical waste. He stressed mainly on the legalities of how such waste must be handled, including the necessary regulations and penalties that come with it.
A covenant on proper waste management was also initiated by ICP’s President Dr Fabian Dayrit and Vice-President for External Affairs and NCCL Chair Ms Edna Mijares by affixing their signatures on the NCCL’s photo wall. Eventually, the participants also affixed theirs as a pledge to minimize the waste they generate in their respective chemical laboratory.
The 3rd NCCL was also an opportunity for the BOC to distribute License to Operate (LTO) certificates to chemical laboratories who have complied with the Chemistry Profession Act over the past year in a simple awarding ceremony. In addition, gifts courtesy of companies who have participated in the industry exhibition area were raffled off much to the delight of the participants.
The ICP wishes to thank the participants, resource speakers, and company-exhibitors who have attended and made the 3rd NCCL a huge success. Together, as one community, let us promote the proper management of chemicals and waste as this is a commitment not just to the chemistry profession but for the country.