Body parts and hospital waste being dumped in the City Of Belmopan.
More than 4 years ago I informed the lists that KHMH had cancelled its contract with BWS to incinerate "Red Waste" and was sending this waste via open trailers to Boom and Belmopan. The red bags you see in your photo are only (by international protocols) used for "Bio Hazardous Waste" i.e. body parts, blood and medical instruments (needles, scalpels etc.) contaminated with HIV and other body fluids. In fact the media ran a story around the same time showing Red and Green (Safe Waste) bags mixed together in the KHMH Garbage area. Apparently the public remains apathetic.
This is horrid and barbaric. No politics. Just highly unacceptable akin to cruise ships dumping schite in our harbour and the English Caye Channel. Lets hope mainstream media picks up on this here in Belize.
Belmopan hospital in medical waste disposal dilemma
The disposal of medical waste by the Western Regional Hospital is being considered as environmentally unfriendly and unacceptable after pictures of its disposal started circulating in social media. Plus news journalist Jesse Mendoza was following the story earlier today and filed the following report.
Jesse Mendoza, Journalist, PlusNews Unsightly photos exposing the disposal of waste from the Western Regional Hospital, in the City of Belmopan started circulating on Face book yesterday. The post started a thread of conversation from persons concerned about the improper disposal of the Hospitals garbage. Well, Plus news traveled some four miles out on the hummingbird Hwy south to the dumpsite located just outside of Belmopan. Garbage from the City and surrounding areas is dumped and burned there. We were looking for the garbage that had been dump yesterday by the Belmopan Hospital, we did find its location but most of it had been burnt and only mere bits of the refuse could be seen. While it had been destroyed we still had questions though; like many dumpsites in the country and across the world there are those who visit the area in search of treasures from another man's garbage. And sure enough, while at the dumpsite we did observed a couple of persons sifting through garbage while others hid in the bushes from our camera. We were informed that an average of twenty persons filter through the garbage that is brought to the site daily and surely it would only be a matter of time before they sort through the refuse disposed by the Hospital. Based on information we have received, the Belmopan Hospital has been dumping their waste there for some time. The Hospital has a standing agreement with the Belmopan City Council, who picks up waste every Monday and Wednesday each week. The medical waste is dumped at the site where it is burnt under the supervision of a trained and certified public health officer who stays until all items are burned. The red bags contains Bio-hazardous materials which includes gloves, syringes, and "sharps containers" - a container filled with used medical needles and other sharp medical instruments capable of penetrating the skin. The green bags contain the regular everyday garbage of the hospital. Based by those standards, it would be safe to say that people would not be rummaging through that garbage however our crew did observe residue materials such as syringes and IV lines among other things that had not been burnt completely. We understand that this routine burning has become routine practice because the Hospitals' incinerator has been out of commission for some two years now. The igniter for the incinerator stopped working, and the part was replaced but sometime after that, the part failed and has yet to be replaced. We have been informed though that the person who looks after the medical equipment of the hospital have already made efforts to replace the part and the incinerator should be operational sometime soon. It would then no longer warrant the need for dumping of medical waste at the garbage site. So while the procedure is monitored, the question remains as to whether the process meets satisfactory sanitary standards of the protection of those who visit the dumpsite. Reporting for Plusnews I am Jesse Mendoza.
We must note that after the garbage has been burnt it's supposed to be covered with dirt but as you saw, the remaining refuse remained uncovered.
Western Regional Hospital burning medical waste in open dump
Amandala has received photographic and other evidence of a practice that is raising eyebrows in the nation’s capital, Belmopan, in which the city’s hospital, the Western Regional Hospital, is burning its medical waste at the open dumpsite on the Hummingbird Highway three miles south of the City because the incinerator on the hospital’s compound is apparently out of commission.
Belmopan resident Eloy Waight told us tonight that yesterday, Wednesday, he had occasion to be at the hospital, and to witness personally the procedure used to cart out and dispose of the waste.
The waste, stored in a locked and disinfected area behind the hospital’s morgue, is placed in red bags to indicate that it contains toxic and hazardous material, mostly used needles and syringes, bloodied gauze material and occasionally placentas and other materials.
By agreement with the Belmopan City Council, the bags are removed once a week and taken in the Council’s trailer, enclosed, to the dumpsite located on a hill top. On its route it passes a number of major streets, such as the Ring Road and Constitution Drive, and when workers tear the bags as a result of mishandling them while throwing them into the trailer or taking them out, blood and other materials are known to run on the streets.
Once at the dumpsite the bags are taken out and dumped and under the supervision of a public health inspector they are burned.
Waight told us that his primary concern is that after nearly two years, the incinerator at the Western Regional is out of commission because of a simple part, an igniter, which has not been replaced, though we are told there is more than one part that is needed. Because of this method, workers handling the waste and, more worryingly, children and scavengers at the dumpsite, are exposed to potential infection from diseases such as Hepatitis B, HIV and tuberculosis.
Also, Waight says, the waste on occasion, usually after a rainstorm, is known to wash down the hilltop and get into creeks and streams in the area, some of which feed the water supply to the village of Roaring Creek.
Waight, a former candidate for Mayor with the People’s United Party (PUP), insists that the matter is not being made political, that it needs to be addressed by authorities lest disease and other maladies break out.
Sources say that the Ministry of Health has been approached for assistance to fix the incinerator, but so far no help has been forthcoming.
(We will have more on this story in our next issue.)