The accumulation of medical waste is a problem for human health and the environment. Its destruction requires the allocation of large funds even if it is exported as is the case with our country. The construction of incinerators is a special story. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has no money for that. In fact, the authorities did not even seriously consider solving this issue.
Medical waste, due to its chemical composition and possible infectivity, can be very dangerous to humans and the environment. The biggest problem in our country is the impossibility of destroying waste since we do not have incinerators according to European standards. The current situation shows that we will not even have them, but they state that there are other solutions.
”The simplest option would be to purchase devices that work on the principle of microwaves. That would be the fastest and easiest at the moment. Building modern incinerators is very expensive and our country cannot afford it. It is possible to build one such incinerator at the regional level, considering the fact that even the countries in the region have not resolved the waste problem, ” told Dr. Sc. Aida Vilic-Svraka, a specialist in hygiene and health ecology.
Incinerators, they say, are too expensive. Our country, as well as others in the region, disposes of chemical and pharmaceutical waste and exports it through authorized companies to countries that have professional incinerators with the ability to achieve high temperatures and environmental standards. In the case of the Balkans, these are most often Italy, Germany, and Austria. However, the price of exports is very high.
”The price ranges from 4-6 BAM per kilogram, but it is difficult to bear that cost. However, in order to be exported at all, it must be grouped somewhere, noted Tomislav Grizelj, owner of the company Grizelj d.o.o.
The Ordinance on Waste Management adopted in 2008 envisages that chemical and pharmaceutical waste is disposed of and subsequently exported. The infectious, which can be extremely dangerous, is sterilized, ground, and dumped in landfills. To the average five tons of medical waste that BiH produces per day, we must now add a new so-called corona waste. Masks, gloves, protective medical suits, vaccines, injections, and syringes create an additional burden. Export is, for now, the only, but still an expensive option. According to the interlocutors, different types of infectious waste, placenta, dental waste, but also used diapers that are often found in containers represent an additional problem.
”The most dangerous thing that is present are baby diapers and adult diapers. It is also infectious waste that ends up in municipal waste, ” Grizelj pointed out.
Medical waste management requires financial investment, especially during a pandemic. But, it is obviously necessary to finally think and make new rules and concessions in order to prevent the spread of various diseases and infections, as well asthe destruction of land and the environment by accumulating waste, which leaves severe consequences.