Plan in effect to manage toxic hospital waste

An emergency plan for the management of hazardous hospital waste was put into effect over Christmas, Kathimerini understands, in a response by the authorities to the discovery of more than 20 tons of toxic refuse at the Fylis landfill, northwest of Athens, earlier this month.

The plan, which is to run through to the end of January, involves the monitoring and sorting of hazardous medical waste on the premises of the landfill and its subsequent incineration at a nearby burning facility. It is being overseen by regional and municipal authorities who have asked hospital managers to provide details about the waste they send to the dump and to dispatch two hospital employees with each consignment of waste to the landfill to monitor safety.

The initiative was launched after a meeting earlier this month between Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis, Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis and Athens Regional Governor Yiannis Sgouros. Authorities have emphasized, however, that the scheme is a temporary solution and have asked hospital managers to make use of the time to adopt minimum safety standards in the dumping of toxic refuse.

“In a climate of cooperation and solidarity, we are helping the hospitals to emerge from a serious impasse,” Sgouros said, adding however that the authorities were not “substituting or removing the exclusive responsibility of hospitals to manage dangerous medical waste.”

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