$40 mn UN-Indian project to target hazardous medical wastes

Friday, February 12, 2010

UNITED NATIONS - A UN agency has teamed up with the Indian government in a $40-million pilot project in five Indian states to help the country’s healthcare system dispose of hazardous medical waste.

The five-year project will be implemented in Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Punjab, with Bangalore’s M.S. Ramaiah Medical College acting as national implementation body, UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) said in a news release Thursday.

Four large, eight medium and 16 small hospitals in each state will benefit from the project.

“Every year, over 300,000 tons of medical waste is generated in India,” said Kandeh K. Yumkella, director-general of the agency that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.

“UNIDO’s environmentally-friendly project will help effectively manage and dispose of hazardous medical waste.”

Yumkella, who was on a week-long visit to India, also urged the private sector to actively participate. “To achieve an eco-friendly disposal of bio-waste, we not only need to train people to be conscious of quality, we also need the participation of the private sector,” he said.

“In Western countries, private businesses often deal with the disposal of bio-medical waste, which allows hospitals to focus on medical issues.”

The project will help reduce persistent organic pollutants (POPs), especially dioxins and furans that are generated when bio-medical waste is not incinerated at the prescribed high temperatures of over 1000 degrees Celsius. This will be achieved by introducing non-burn technologies like microwave and autoclave.

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