THE Cambodian Red Cross has announced plans to build a new medical waste incinerator in Kandal province’s Takhmao town early next year, following what officials described as the success of the Kingdom’s first incinerator, erected in October 2008 in Dangkor district.
Rath Aun, executive director of the medical waste department at the Red Cross, said health facilities in Takhmao had requested that an incinerator and dump site be built in the area to provide a safer way of disposing of medical waste.
“Right now, medical waste is being disposed of in ways that are harmful to public health and the environment,” he said. “Used needles, medical scissors, discarded bandages, placenta, flesh and blood are being buried or dumped at garbage sites.”
He added that the Cambodian Red Cross was reviewing the costs associated with constructing a new incinerator and dump site.
Though the Red Cross and the city covered the US$1 million cost of the existing incinerator, dump site and associated infrastructure in Dangkor district, additional assistance came from outside Cambodia: Project leaders received building materials and technical assistance from Germany, the body of the incinerator was sent from the Netherlands, and Vietnam provided piping for construction.
The facility currently generates between US$6,000 and $7,000 per month for the Red Cross in Phnom Penh, which uses the revenue for its own programmes and also for covering the incinerator’s maintenance fees, Rath Aun said.
Penh Pheakdey, the manager of the incinerator in Dangkor’s Choeung Ek commune, said that, on average, about 1 tonne of refuse is collected each day from 630 public and private medical facilities in Phnom Penh, which pay a fee for the service. Since the incinerator became operational, more than 400 tonnes of waste have been burned at the site, he said.