Research conducted during the formulation of the City’s Solid Waste Management Policy revealed a gap in the treatment of medical waste. It became apparent that the current facilities including the Katutura Hospital Incinerator which was reported by members of the public to be hazardous as it emits dangerous smoke, no longer have the capacity to sufficiently dispose and process the increased amount of health care and medical waste in the city.
The CoW took it upon itself to invest in a HCRWF that will cater for the increased volumes of medical waste generated by medical health care facilities, pharmacies, veterinary services, blood transfusion and other services that are associated with medical care.
“The new facility will help us ensure that all medical waste is treated in a safe and optimal manner. Currently 1450 plus tonnes per annum is generated by medical facilities and is treated at the Katutura hospital incinerator and some non-pathological waste is taken to the Kupferberg landfill site. State hospitals have the highest record of waste which the incinerator is not adequately meeting the needs of, and sometimes experiences a lack of fuel. We as the City of Windhoek thought it best to build a new facility because the current ones have limited cooking, the operators have insufficient training and there it has no records of waste, which has lead to the illegal dumping of waste of which we had a case reported in May earlier this year where medical waste was illegally dumped in Rocky Crest,” said CoW: Section Engineer, Licensing and Special Projects, Maya Chipeio.
The N$50 million facility was designed following consultations, with and inputs from the generators of medical waste. It will be equipped with state of the art technologies, carefully chosen to be able to sustainably treat most of the medical waste generated in Windhoek.
Mayor of the City of Windhoek, His Worship Muesse Kazapua said the facility will not only be able to manage waste within the City’s boundaries, but also render assistance to surrounding towns namely Gobabis, Okahandja and Rehoboth with regards to medical waste treatment.
“The facility will also serve as a skills transfer centre, as it will be open to other local authorities, to gather experience and expertise in the sustainable management of medical waste. This will in turn positively impact how waste is managed in Namibia as a whole,” he said.
The facility will run at a cost of the user of which the user will be charged N$50 per bag plus or minus 6kgs for disposal of waste which will be gazetted prior to commissioning of the facility. It will comprise a combination of burn and non burn technologies as well as air pollution cleaning equipment that will ensure that any potential air pollution is eliminated. Chipeio further said that construction of the facility has already commenced, that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate has been issued and that the facility is expected to be commissioned by April or May 2016 and be fully operational by June 2016.