The United Nations agency that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction and environmental sustainability has teamed up with the Government of India in a $40-million pilot project to help the country’s healthcare system dispose of hazardous medical waste.
“Every year, over 300,000 tons of medical waste is generated in India,” UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella said today in a news release. “UNIDO’s environmentally-friendly project will help effectively manage and dispose of hazardous medical waste.”
The five-year project will be implemented in Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Punjab states, with Bangalore’s M.S. Ramaiah Medical College acting as national implementation body. Four large, eight medium and 16 small hospitals in each state will benefit from the project.
Mr. 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.