The quantity of waste generated by public and private healthcare facilities in Tunisia amount to 16,000 tonnes/year, said waste management expert Walim Mardassi. This includes 7,000 tonnes of hazardous waste.

The government needs to encourage investments to set up waste management enterprises. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated healthcare waste issues, Mardassi Thursday further told participants in the first edition of environment forum Compa Green 23.

Hazardous waste includes biological waste in addition to chemical waste, mainly pharmaceutical waste, as well as flammable or explosive waste, sharp waste (syringes, etc.) or radioactive waste.

For hospitals and private healthcare facilities (second and third line care), the production of waste averages 2.37 kg/bed/day, i.e. around 8,900 tonnes/year for nearly 27,000 beds across the country.

The number of waste collection businesses stands at ten currently, Mardassi said. Several enterprises lost their authorisations for a number of reasons.

The theoretical processing capacity authorised by the environment Ministry has remained relatively stable, going from 10, 400 tonnes/ year in 2019 to 10,850 tonnes/year now. The actual capacity is of 5,500 tonnes, that is nearly 50% of the market.

The expert shed light on poor coordination in managing healthcare waste, particularly between the ministries of health and the environment, which contributed to the deterioration of the situation.

This first edition of Compa Green 23 is organised by the Environment Ministry in partnership with the National Agency for Waste Management (French: ANGED) and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) to mark World and National Environment Day.

Participants are mainly 200 experts from green sectors, including companies, start-ups, NGOs and public agencies.

On the agenda of the event are issues related to environmental management, particularly in industry and healthcare. Recommendations will be put forward at the close of the event.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse