Plans in place to remove Gauteng medical waste

Pretoria - The Gauteng Department of Health has given the public an assurance that it will remove medical waste from provincial hospitals.

Department spokesperson, Simon Zwane, acknowledged that there has been a delay in collections as a direct result of challenges with treatment capacity in the country as a whole.

He said that instead of daily collections at academic hospitals, collections were done two to three times per week.

"The backlog was caused by lack of sufficient approved treatment facilities such as incinerators and alternative technologies throughout the country. Health care waste can only be treated at approved treatment plants with permits from the Department of Environmental Affairs," Zwane explained.

He said Gauteng Health Care Waste Regulations allows them to store general health care risk waste for 90 days under controlled circumstances which they have in their facilities.

"These 90 days include sharps as well as anatomical waste which is stored in freezers which we have in all our facilities generating pathological waste such as placentas, unfrozen pathological waste can be stored for 72 hours before collection."

He said the company contracted to the department, Buhle Waste Services, was in the process of removing waste and the backlog was expected to be cleared by Sunday.

- BuaNews