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The Killid Group
Hospital wastes poison environmentWritten by Karishma Fakhri
Sunday, 29 April 2012 15:22
All the country’s garbage from government hospitals are dumped in two sites. Private hospitals do not dispose their waste in these dumps.
Nesar Ahmad Habibi Ghori, head of the waste management in Kabul municipality, says there are incinerators in two government hospitals. Hospital waste is dumped untreated everywhere else.
Ghori says, “I don’t want to identify or expose the hospitals. It will only create problems; people will protest. I am interested that clinical waste from Kabul and other parts of the country is burned.”
Dr Hashmatullah Mamnoon who teaches at the Kabul Medical University, describes waste from hospitals as the most dangerous and infectious for the health of people.
The garbage is normally human waste, pathological tissues, body parts, and soiled cotton, which are put in open garbage bins, he says. Wastes from pathological laboratories are dumped in rivers and streams, polluting the water. There are also radioactive wastes from hospital laboratories that can affect people, and contaminate the environment.
“Garbage should be disposed off in incinerators,” he advises. The two incinerators in Kabul are at Ibni-Sina and Malalai Maternal emergency hospitals. Staff here says they are not big enough even to meet their daily needs.
Mir Azizullah Akhgar in the Ministry of Public Health says, “Incinerators are very expensive. Therefore we can't provide them at once to all hospitals.”
Mohammad Salim Nasib Zada, nursing manager in Ibni-Sina emergency hospital said: “Ministry of Public Health installed the incinerator two months ago. We burn all infected burnable materials, and what cannot be burned we carry, with the cooperation of Kabul municipality, to a remote area. We can turn on this machine for three hours daily to burn 40 kg of combustible material in an hour. It costs a lot: 12 litres of fuel per hour.”
Meanwhile, private hospitals have no incinerators. Najibullah Amarkhail, head of Darman private hospital, said waste is sealed in municipal storage bins and transported by municipal staff to a remote area.
Akhgar says the ministry has given private hospital three months to install incinerators.
Ghulam Mohammad Malikyar in the Environmental Protection Agency says a committee with members from 12 ministries has been set up to monitor pollution by hospitals. The committee members have begun taking action against hospital after inspections. Some 2,000 government hospitals and 200 private hospitals are on a list maintained by the Ministry of Health.
Engineer Nasir at the Gulf Medical Hospital says he has been taking hospital wastes to locations outside the city like Khair Khana. But Habibi Ghori of the Kabul Municipality says he doesn’t know of any hospital that transports its wastes.
Meanwhile, Dr Aminullah Tokhi who has a private practice, says not all hospitals have the land to install incinerators. “The municipality should allocate land,” he says.
Malikyar in the Environment Protection Agency dismisses it as an excuse to grab land. “Incinerators don’t need a great deal of space. They can set it up in front or behind the building in a 2 sq metre area.”