Medical wastes still a hazard in urban areas

Medical wastes still a hazard in urban areas

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A street boy picks a piece of biomedical waste; syringes, needles, drugs and other medical wastes, that was found at a dumpsite . PHOTO: COURTESY.

Nairobi, KENYA: Reports on waste management indicate that most county and domestic waste has been a challenge with poor modes of “treating” garbage becoming a menace in cities.

Garbage is often disposed in open dumpsites with biomedical waste destroyed through burners that do not meet the requirements stipulated the Third schedule of the Waste Management Regulations of 2006.

What the public should know is the dangers of improper disposal of medical wastes as this has caused the spread of diseases.

“Medical wastes come from hospitals and dispensaries. These are hazardous and this could include contaminated needles and dressings, in which some are stained with blood. If anyone comes into contact with contaminated needles they are at risk of contracting Hepatitis B,Hepatitis C or HIV and AIDS,” Dr. Kepha Ombacho, Director Public Heath, told Baraka FM on Tuesday.

Dr. Ombacho advised that medical wastes should be treated appropriately treated before being disposed in dump sites.

Geocycle, a global waste management firm that is present in over 60 countries has entered the Kenyan market with an objective of providing a solution to waste management that leaves no residue after disposal.

The partnership, that is in line with Bamburi Cement’s environmental sustainability goals, will also result in a reduction in the carbon emission footprint in the county, which is currently very high due to among other things, the open burning of waste from landfills and other undesignated dumping points.

It will also afford Bamburi Cement safer and cost effective energy for cement production.

Due to the high cost of cement production, waste derived fuel will provide a more economical and sustainable option compared to use of fossil fuels.

“This ensures that people are not exposed to emissions that are harmful and also diseases brought about by biomedical wastes. When children come across expired disposed medicines in a dump site they are likely to consume it and this is dangerous. Now we will be able to collect such drugs to our disposal site ,” explained Simon Wathigo, Head of Geocycle Kenya.

Mr. Wathigo explained that such a method of waste management would be key in protecting the public from being exposed towards medical wastes thus making cities safer places to reside in.

“This is a good initiative because medical facilities can take their wastes in designated areas. The toxins in the garbage will be reduced before being taken to a dump site,” remarked Dr. Ombacho.

Kenya’s Vision 2030 and National Environment Management Authority NEMA guiding principle on Solid Waste Management and Initiatives SWMI calls for Zero Waste strategies to create wealth, employment and reduce environmental pollution.