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POST 00715E : WASTE MANAGEMENT : AN ARTICLE 17 September 2004 _____________________________________ Philippe JAILLARD (mailto:pjaillard@aamp.org) from Bénin shares an article from the French daily "Libération" of 6 Septembre that gives edifying informations on hospital waste management in Karachi, Pakistan. For those who would like to consult the source, the original article is available at : http://www.liberation.com/page.php?Article=236532 _____________________________________ HEALTH RISKS FROM COUNTRYWIDE TRAFFIC PAKISTAN: HOSPITAL WASTE BLACK MARKET From our correspondent in Karachi Alice DRAPER Monday 06 September 2004 (Release - 06:00) At the entrance of Jinnah Hospital in Karachi the economic capital of Pakistan, the old man Hamid is squatting in front of a heap of wastes. The rag picker digs haphazardly into bloody wastes covered with flies: wastes straight out from the hospital. Among purulent bandages and broken ampoules, he finds disposable syringes and perfusion pouches. For this Afghan refugee, the booty is important: all he needs to do is to rinse this dirty material with water, re-pack and sell it to pharmacies around the hospital. Tons of hospital wastes are thus coveted by several poverty-stricken rag pickers, often children doing this business in Karachi. Heroin addicts, hundreds of thousand of them in this mega city, also help themselves into garbage looking for syringes. There are obviously many risks associated with the reuse of soiled instruments: hepatitis, AIDS and many other diseases. This deadly recycling takes place all over Pakistan. Mafia: In Lahore 3 tons of hospital waste are produced every day. In gigantic dumps on the outskirts of the city, a vast organized traffic of waste is taking place, particularly for the recycling of syringes, glass and plastic industry…. Sometimes even the hospital staff sells plastic pouches or syringes on the side to the recycling Mafia; one hospital waste containers sells between 1000 and 2000 Rupies (15 to 30 Euros). Lawsuits: The greater part of the 250000 tons of hospital wastes produced annually in Pakistan are thrown into city dumps and collected by garbage men without any precaution. Open-air garbage pits containing syringes, needles, organs, pieces of flesh, blood, human excreta and bandages, transform into in culture-broth spreading diseases, contaminating the air, the water and animals feeding from it. In the same way liquid biomedical wastes go to sewage which used waters flow into rivers, without any treatment. Yet the Ministry of Health had issued guidelines in 1998 for hospital wastes management, how to sort and treat them. According to the Pakistan’s Environmental Protection Act of 1997, such wastes are even classified “dangerousâ€


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