11 February 2010
Reissued as received
UNIDO Launches 40 Million Dollar Project to Help India
Dispose of Bio-medical Waste
VIENNA, 11 February (UN Information Service) - The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Government of India have joined hands to implement a 40 million US dollar pilot project to help the country's healthcare system effectively manage and dispose of hazardous medical waste.
"India has taken a prime position in medicine and healthcare, and can now show the world the quality of its health system by putting in place a unique disposal mechanism," said UNIDO Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella.
He was referring to a 2009 survey by the M.S. Ramaiah Medical College on waste management in medical facilities in five states of India (Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Punjab). The survey is the most authoritative data on medical waste generated in hospitals in India and shows how the situation is currently managed.
"Every year, over 300,000 tones of medical waste is generated in India. UNIDO's environmentally-friendly project will help effectively manage and dispose of hazardous medical waste," added Yumkella.
The five-year project will be implemented in Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Punjab, with Bangalore's M.S. Ramaiah Medical College acting as the national implementation body. Four large hospitals (two public and two private), 8 medium hospitals and 16 small hospitals in each state will benefit from the project.
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. In Western countries, private businesses often deal with the disposal of bio-medical waste, which allows hospitals to focus on medical issues," he said.
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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