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The Department of the Environment tackles medical waste

The Department of the Environment today held a national consultation to address medical waste in Belize. Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer says the department has hired three consultants to look at Belize’s current position in three areas concerning medical waste management. The aim is for Belize to manage medical waste more efficiently and minimize secondary or direct impacts on human health and the environment.

Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer: “This is in the mandate of what we refer to as the National Demonstration Project of a bigger project, a regional Caribbean Project being managed by the Basel Convention Center out of Trinidad and Tobago- it’s eight countries who are doing this project concentrating on the chemicals management of chemicals in general. In Belize when we narrowed down that whole chemicals management issue is one of the issues that did come up was medical waste as one of those that do generate challenges in terms of chemical either emissions in the air or water to the soil. So it is here today we are presenting the findings, the preliminary findings of these consultancies, the legal, institutional  and technical management and disposal plan of medical waste with the key stakeholders meaning the private clinics, the public clinics, the sall doctors that have their own offices and so on concentrating on medical waste.”

Reporter: Now overall if you can talk about it, the gravity of the situation in terms of medical waste in the country, how serious is it ?

Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer:“That is what we want to find out, that is what these consultancies are all about finding out what exists there in terms of laws, in terms of licensing of these facilities, in terms of storage, transportation and more so the final disposal of medical waste so this is like I said a stock taking to trying to find out where we are and hence your question I can’t answer yet. Hopefully in the course of this initiative by October or so when this is finalized we could have a better understanding of where we are.”

Alegria says that there is also the intention to study biomedical waste in Belize and plan for its proper management as well.