The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the United Nations Development Programme have kicked off a US$2.1 million project targeting medical waste reduction in Viet Nam.
HA NOI —
"The project aims to promote sustainable and economical medical waste treatment and management technologies for the country," said the project co-ordinator, Nguyen Thanh Yen.
The project will demonstrate good practices and techniques for medical waste management in order to minimise or eliminate the release of persistent organic pollutants and mercury to the environment.
The project comes under the framework of a programme funded by the Global Environment Fund with the participation of eight countries, including Argentina, India, Latvia, Lebanon, the Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania and Viet Nam.
The four-year project will focus its activities on establishing model facilities, tools and documents for medical waste management at Viet Duc Hospital in Ha Noi and Ninh Binh General Hospital in northern Ninh Binh Province.
Appropriate non-incineration treatment technologies will be developed and installed in waste treatment centres of the Urban Environment Company in Ha Noi (URENCO) and at selected medical units in Ninh Binh Province.
The project will also establish a national training programme on waste management and building capacity and results will be disseminated to stockholders with the aim of encouraging replication.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Health, the country has nearly 200 industrial incinerators that treat medical waste from 435 hospitals out of 854 hospitals nationwide. By the end of 2009, 75 per cent of medical waste had been disposed of using these incinerators. The remainder was burned in the open or dumped in land-fills.
Ha Noi's URENCO each day has to treat 5 tonnes of medical waste from the city's hospitals and that each cubic metre costs more than $500. —VNS