LPPH may use own waste disposalA council decision by the City of Windhoek (CoW) with the instruction that all healthcare waste may only be processed at its facilities in the capital, has been set aside by the High Court.
This judgment follows after Lady Pohamba Private Hospital (LPPH) took the CoW, the environmental commissioner as well as the attorney general to court over this decision, because according to the resolution the hospital is not allowed to treat and process medical waste on its own premises.
The hospital used its own management programme, the Sterilwave SW250 series, for medical waste management to treat, sterilize and destroy healthcare risk waste (HCRW) on site, which was carried out in accordance with LPPH's internal protocols and in full compliance with municipal regulations. An accredited remover transports the waste to the CoW’s approved premises where an autoclave (strongly sealed container) is used for medical waste and an incinerator for anatomical waste.
The hospital's management system uses a shredding system and microwave technology to sterilize any type of solid, biohazardous waste into vey thin, safe and unrecognizable municipal waste. The end product reduces the weight of waste by up to 25% and the volume by up to 85%. This means that the waste is safely destroyed on the hospital premises, instead of being transported to the CoW's landfill.
An environmental clearance certificate was issued to LPPH, while the Ministry of Health and Social Services carried out an inspection of the hospital’s facilities to determine whether the system meets the standards and specifications of the World Health Organisation (WHO), as well as the law on public and environmental health.
Approval for use had also been obtained.
According to a municipal strategy for health risk waste, the CoW created central facilities which are also managed by them. A resolution was accepted that the strategic head for infrastructure, water and waste management has the mandate to prevent the establishment of smaller facilities in Windhoek.
The CoW's defence was that the hospital's waste is "hazardous" and falls within the definition of risk waste. Furthermore, regulation 35(2) does not allow the CoW approval to give permission to the hospital for the processing of this waste.
Judge Esi Schimming-Chase referred the resolution back to the CoW for possible review. She also instructed that the municipality bears the costs of LPPH's application. – [email protected]