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Ministry orders probe into hazardous medical waste

Update: May, 22/2014 - 08:32
Workers collect rubbish in Ha Noi's Thuong Tin District. Major hospitals have been reported to be selling hazardous medical waste to villages around the city. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue

HA NOI (VNS) — The Health Ministry has ordered the Department of Health Environment Management Agency to look into recent findings by VietnamPlus, an online newspaper of Vietnam News Agency, which alleged major hospitals were selling medical waste to villages around Ha Noi to be recycled, despite serious health hazards.

VietnamPlus reported that dozen of tonnes of medical waste were being sold for recycling in villages such as Nhu Quynh Town in Hung Yen Province or Trieu Khuc village in the Thanh Tri District of Ha Noi.

Director of the Health Environment Management Agency, Nguyen Huy Nga, said an average of 400-500 tonnes of medical waste was discharged on a daily basis around the country with 10 per cent classified as "extremely toxic" waste.

Investigative reporters from VietnamPlus travelled to Minh Khai Hamlet in Nhu Quynh Town of Hung Yen Province, discovering multiple households with hundreds of nylon bags containing medical waste, intended to be made into plastic.

Nguyen Huu Canh, head of Minh Khai Hamlet, said the waste had come from major hospitals in Ha Noi, such as Bach Mai Hospital and Viet Duc Hospital.

"They send family members to the hospitals and hire people to package used medical supplies such as injection needles and empty medical bottles," he said.

Residents relying on the trade say they were either unaware or not concerned by the need to disinfect the waste. — VNS

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