Japanese Ambassador Mizukoshi recently signed an Exchange of Note for grant assistance to provide JPY 503 million ($ 3.7 million) in order to improve the management of infectious waste, which has increased following the spread of COVID-19.
Based on “Guidelines for Management of COVID-19 infectious waste MoH, DE and OH” of March 2020, etc., the treatment of infectious waste through medical waste incinerators and infectious waste sterilisation equipment has been encouraged. However, due to budget constraints, the proper facilities have not been developed sufficiently.
On the other hand, due to the increased infectious waste in the wake of the spread of COVID-19, the amount of the infectious waste exceeded the processing capacity of existing infectious waste treatment facilities in Sri Lanka. As a result, problems are arising such as the exposure of hospital staff to infectious pathogens, health damage to surrounding residents due to the disposal of waste through burning in open fields or through aging facilities, and the emission of dioxins, smoke, and unpleasant odours.
Through this project, medical waste incinerators with temperature control and exhaust gas treatment equipment will be installed at 15 hospitals covering all nine provinces in Sri Lanka. It is expected that this project will increase the processing capacity of infection waste, enabling to process more wastes with smaller environmental impact, and lead to reduction of the burden on the surrounding environment.