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Progress falters on waste treatment plan

Update: August, 17/2012 - 10:06

HCM CITY — The master plan on hazardous medical waste treatment approved last year by the government lacks sufficient capital to be carried out effectively, according to experts.

At least 350 tonnes of solid waste from hospitals and health clinics, as well as centres nationwide, are discharged each day, and, of that amount, 40.5 tonnes are hazardous medical waste, according to Nguyen Minh Hung of the economic-technical branch of the Department for Sciences and Technology.

Speaking at a conference held in HCM City on Wednesday, Hung said the amount would increase to nearly 600 tonnes in 2015 and 800 tonnes per day by 2020.

Initial figures show that nearly 150,000 cubic metres of liquid waste per day are discharged by health facilities. The amount is expected to rise to 300,000 cubic metres per day by 2015.

The equipment as well as technology used for medical-waste treatment are outdated and fail to meet national and international standards, according to Hung.

Vu Tuan Vinh of the Viet Nam Institute of Architecture, Urban and Rural Planning, who is in charge of carrying out the master plan on hazardous medical-waste treatment, said that many different technology models were being used in the country.

Most centrally managed hospitals use incinerators to burn hazardous medical waste.

Nearly 74 per cent of hospitals at the provincial and district level have incinerators. Only 43 per cent of hospitals have incinerators with combustion chambers that meet technical and environmental standards.

About 50 per cent of incinerators at waste treatment facilities in HCM City, Ha Noi and Da Nang operate at only half of their capacity.

Hung said that a master plan on hazardous medical waste treatment should be carried out nationwide. —VNS

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