A waste audit: understanding the dimensions of the problem
Health Environment and Climate Action Foundation (HECAF 360), formerly Health Care Foundation Nepal (HECAF), is a non-governmental and not-for-profit organization committed to promoting a clean, green, climate-smart health care system in Nepal. HECAF 360 is a pioneer in environmentally-safe health care waste management systems based on Zero Waste principles and non-burn technology.
In hospital and clinical environments it is HECAF360’s primary goal to design, install and implement health care waste management systems across Nepal that :
promote the climate-smart disposal of infectious and non-infectious biodegradable waste using biodigestion
eliminate mercury-containing devices in health care
institute safe injection systems
safely manage pharmaceutical waste
promote appropriate, inexpensive low-tech climate-smart healthcare solutions
In the greater community setting HECAF360 wherever possible seeks to
1. plan and institute renewable energy projects
2. encourage green building design
3. ensure effective water sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
4. build safe waste water treatment systems
5. implement safer chemical substitutions
6. safely dispose of menstrual sanitary waste
7. advocate for sustainable green procurement procedures
GUIDELINES & PRINCIPLES
Make hospitals and other health care facilities SAFE, for patients, for staff and for the communities in which the hospitals and clinics are located.
HECAF 360 is committed to the elimination of incineration of medical waste throughout the country.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is the mantra governing every implementation of a Health Care Waste Management project.
HECAF 360 believes burying waste hides the problem but does not solve it. Burying harmful or hazardous waste often leads to other longterm problems like ground water and soil contamination.
PROJECTS HECAF 360
Making Nepal's Waste Management Safer
HECAF has implemented Health Care Waste Management projects in over 25 in-patient hospitals throughout the country. These multi-bed facilities can now recycle much of the waste they generate, including pathological wastes. Each project begins with an elaborate diagnostic assessment of the kinds of wastes being generated and an evaluation of the safest and most effective methods of reusing, recycling or disposing of the waste.
Clinics and out-patient treatment centers in both urban and rural environments also generate health care waste and pose risks to patients, staff and the community at large if the waste generated is not properly treated and processed. Just as with the large multi-bed hospitals, clinics and out patient centers rely on a careful diagnostic evaluation before any project is designed and implemented.
It's not just hospitals and clinics that generate health care waste. Pharmaceutical waste is also a major problem once products exceed their use-by date.Expired pharmaceuticals must be handled in a safe and responsible manner when being disposed of HECAF has devised a program that can safely recycle a great of the the waste from expired pharmaceuticals.
In Nepal schools are also generating potentially infectious waste because of a recent Government of Nepal policy making menstrual hygiene pads available to schoolgirls. The safe disposal of these sanitary pads is an issue that HECAF has also addressed.
Zero Waste is a set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages "rethinking" what waste is and "redesigning" how waste is handled so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or waterways. As much as possible HECAF deploys Zero Waste principles in its Health Care Waste Management work.