KHANH HOA (VNS)— The only healthcare waste treatment station in the central province of Khanh Hoa's Nha Trang City has not been functional for the past 10 months, making it difficult for hospitals to get rid of their toxic waste.
Located in the Khanh Hoa Hospital of Dermatology and Venerology, the station has been responsible for treating all the waste from hospitals and clinics in the city since it opened in 2001.
Director of the province's Department of Health Bui Xuan Minh said that the station was built with old technology and frequently overloaded, causing regular breakdowns.
While the station's capacity is 400kg of waste per day, it was forced to treat about 600kg.
"The station was repaired many times, but it cannot be improved as it is always overloaded," said Minh.
Since the station failed completely last August, hospitals in the city have experimented with different ways to treat their waste.
Khanh Hoa General Hospital administers autoclave technology at high temperatures, treating 10kg of waste in 10 minutes. The waste is then buried or burnt in a rubbish dump north of Nha Trang City.
With about 50 patients at a time, Khanh Hoa Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases Hospital ends up with 2kg of waste each day – mainly bottles containing patients' sputum. The institution dug a deep hole in the ground and now burns the waste with alcohol or petrol.
"None of these methods ensures healthcare hygiene. They will seriously pollute the environment and affect neighbouring residents' health," said Minh.
The provincial People's Committee has approved a plan to build a healthcare waste treatment station in the Ru Ri rubbish dump in the city's Vinh Luong District.
Construction work on the station is expected to begin next week and will be completed by the end of this year.
The station will have the capacity of 250kg per hour. Equipment was imported from Belgium with total funds of US$1 million. — VNS