Optimize state budget to dispose COVID-19 medical waste: President

Jakarta (ANTARA) – President Joko Widodo has urged administrators to optimize the available budget for disposing COVID-19 medical hazardous and toxic (B3) waste, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar has said.

“The projected budget for the plan is Rp1.3 trillion. The President has instructed to exercise the budget for incinerators and other related facilities. He has also urged to read all medical waste management instruments and ensure they run well,” the minister informed at an online press conference following a limited meeting on COVID-19 medical B3 waste management with the head of state.

The press conference was broadcast through the Presidential Secretariat’s Youtube channel here on Wednesday. President Widodo has also asked regional governments to help construct waste destroyers, such as incinerators, shredders, and other similar equipment, Bakar said.

He has ordered that any available budget — General Allocation Fund, Special Allocation Fund, Profit Sharing Fund, or COVID-19 Task Force fund — be utilized to support the project, she added.

According to data obtained by the ministry, the volume of COVID-19 medical waste generated in the country reached 18,460 tons as of July 27, 2021. The waste originated from medical centers, emergency hospitals, monitored-isolation and self-quarantine facilities, diagnostic test laboratories, as well as vaccination sites, it said. However, Bakar said the data was incomplete as the association of Indonesian hospitals has reported 383 tons of medical waste being dumped each day.

Indeed, the national waste management facilities have a capacity to process up to 493 tons of waste each day, she said. However, most of the waste is concentrated in Java Island, she noted.

COVID-19 medical B3 waste comprises used alcohol swabs, bandages, face shields, gloves, hazmat suits, infusions, masks, medical suits, personal protective equipment (PPEs), syringe needles, vaccine bottles, as well as RT-PCR and rapid antigen test tools, she informed.

 

Source: Antara News

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