The City of Windhoek (CoW) has inaugurated a health care risk waste treatment facility in the capital built at a cost of N$70 million.
The facility, located in the capital’s northern industrial area opposite China Town, is the only one approved for treatment of medical waste.
It will also cater for waste generators in the surrounding areas such as Gobabis, Okahandja and Rehoboth, allowing the CoW to achieve a total medical and hazardous waste treatment capacity of approximately 1,450 tonnes per year.
Speaking on behalf of the head of state Hage Geingob, Vice President, Nangolo Mbumba, said at the inauguration that in 2008, the CoW developed a solid waste management policy and draft regulations for the appropriate management of the county’s waste and to improve the current solid waste management practices to meet future demand, as the old system was not sustainable.
Mbumba said the waste treatment facility is vital and will help to achieve targets set under the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
“From the total amount of waste generated by health care activities, about 85 percent is general, non-hazardous waste while the remaining 15 percent is considered hazardous material that may be infectious, chemical or radioactive,” Mbumba explained.
He said the health care waste originates from health care facilities, laboratories, research facilities, pharmacies and veterinary science laboratories.
“This is considered to be partly hazardous. I am further informed that the type of waste to be treated at this facility will be infectious, pharmaceutical, chemical and radioactive,” he said.
Mbumba called on all private health care providers and State hospitals and clinics in the Khomas, Hardap, Omaheke, and Otjozondjupa regions to make use of the new state-of-the-art facility.
CoW Mayor, Muesee Kazapua, said the city faces unique challenges in medical and hazardous waste management.
He said the city’s action to reform its waste disposal procedures began in 2010, with the undertaking of a comprehensive waste management policy, which involved an overhaul of the existing waste management plan.