x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Company to deal with medical waste

Processing agreement follows revelation of bloody dressings in public rubbish bins.

SHARJAH // A private company will now process Sharjah's medical waste, under a deal signed yesterday to ensure it is no longer dumped in public bins. In March, The National reported that waste including old dressings and exposed needles was being dumped in public bins after Sharjah's incinerator, which should process all medical waste, broke down.

The emirate signed the agreement with a new company, Wekaya, a partnership between Sharjah Environment Company (Bee'ah), a private company tasked with making Sharjah more environmentally friendly, and Green Planet, a company that provides advice on green practices. The company will collect, treat and dispose of medical waste. Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, the chief executive of Green Planet, said in the coming months Wekaya would also begin training hospitals and clinics in how to better deal with such waste.

"We are determined to reduce the risk to the community posed by improperly managed waste," he said. Mr al Owais added: "Sharjah is in fact the first emirate in the region to develop an advanced and integrated waste management strategy." Work on a new processing facility for waste, at a cost of approximately Dh200 million (US$54m), started at the end of last year. Salim bin Mohammed al Owais, that the acting chairman of Bee'ah, said that when it was completed a few weeks from now, the plant would be the biggest of its kind in the Arab world.

In addition, Bee'ah recently broke ground on a Dh150m tyre recycling plant that will convert the eight to 10m tyres currently in Sharjah landfills into rubber paving and tiling products. At the time of The National's story in March, Hassan al Taffaq, the head of Sharjah Municipality's environmental department, acknowledged the problem of illegal dumping. Residents had complained of finding syringes and bloody material in dustbins.