The Ministry of the Environment is currently installing 50 incinerators to burn medical waste from treatment and quarantine centers in the capital and in 20 provinces, while around 100 tonnes of this waste piles up every day across the country.
During the inspection of the installation of a medical waste incinerator near a landfill in the village of Damnak Chang Eur in the town of Kep, (photo below), the spokesperson for the Ministry of the Environment , Neth Pheaktra, said the installation of the incinerators in Kep will be completed within the next two weeks and they will be used to burn four to seven tons of medical waste per day from the Covid-19 treatment and quarantine centers.
“We need to carefully manage the waste from these areas so that it does not end up in a normal landfill, which could result in transmission to other people. That is why the ministry has taken steps to burn this medical waste using incinerators, ”he said.
“As the incineration of this medical waste is still limited, waste from quarantine sites, including Covid-19 treatment centers, must be managed efficiently,” said Mr. Pheaktra.
Citing reports provided by 25 environmental departments in the capital and provinces, Mr Pheaktra said Covid-19 quarantine and treatment centers currently produce around 100 tonnes of solid waste per day.
He added that the provinces of Siem Reap, Mondulkiri and Battambang were already using incinerators to burn medical waste, while the ministry was providing technical support for the management of solid waste from the centers.
According to Pheaktra, Cambodia as a whole produces more than 10,000 tonnes of waste per day, or nearly four million tonnes per year. Of this total, organic waste represents around 68%, plastic waste more than 20% and solid or hazardous waste around 10%.
The Ministry of the Environment also called on the population to properly pack waste and sort it according to its type – especially waste from medical treatment centers – and to avoid throwing it away anyhow.
On August 27, Phnom Penh’s deputy governor, Koeut Chhe, warned that patients in the capital who undergo treatment at home, as well as those who care for them, could face prosecution. if they do not dispose of the waste properly.
Mr Chhe noted that most patients who receive home treatment follow instructions, while a few “reckless” people have been warned of the potential consequences of their neglect.
In an appeal to the public, he said:
“If you see patients receiving treatment at home who do not fully comply with waste management policies, please report them to the authorities, such as the village or commune chief, or the chief of the communal police”
Chhe stressed that the priority is given to educating offenders rather than taking legal action, but warned that if these briefings fail to deter repeated incidents, legal options remain open.
According to recent instructions, Covid-19 patients on home treatment and their caregivers must place infectious waste in a bag and keep it separate from other waste.
The bag must be disinfected inside and out, remain on site for 72 hours, then be placed in another yellow garbage bag indicating that it is infectious waste before leaving it outside for collection.