Figure 1: Open burning of the household waste in Panjikent, Tajikistan
This article highlights a recent experience of WEI Associate, Mr. Nimesh Dhakal.
Nimesh recently completed a 7-month assignment on solid waste management in rural Tajikistan. Nimesh was recruited by CESVI with the objective of improving existing practices of solid waste management in rural Tajikistan. Nimesh worked in the towns of Ayni and Panjikent in close cooperation with local authorities (Hukumat to head of village). Some of the major issues affecting solid waste management in Tajikistan were the rural settings, poor infrastructures, bad access roads and, above all, the lack of awareness among the communities.
Nimesh addressed these issues by conducting orientation to the government authorities and related stakeholders on the different possible option for proper management, provided trainings to the communities on household composting and campaigns to stop open-burning practices, conducting mass cleanup campaign to clean existing dumping sites and advocacy and training in school for formation of eco-clubs and their effective mobilization. By the end of his assignment, significant improvements could be found including, for example, improved practices and number of communities practicing household composting, developed plan for the authorities for the construction of waste deposit sites in the rural areas of Ayni and Panjikent, clean rivers and gullies.
Nimesh greatly enjoyed working side-by-side with the Tajik colleagues and hopes to return one day. Despite improvements in solid waste management that were realized during Nimesh’s assignment, many challenges remain to be addressed.
General waste generated in hospitals, health centers and other health care settings can become hazardous when poor in-house management practices result in the mixing of general waste with infectious materials, sharps, or toxic chemical waste.
Poor management practices put patients, health care workers and the general public at risk for exposure to hazardous waste.
WE International supported the Ministry of Health in Lao PDR to improve waste management in central and provincial hospitals through on-site assessments and training of hospital staff.
Emphasis was placed on separation of wastes into hazardous and non-hazardous categories at the point of waste generation, and safe handling and disposal.
WE International’s analysis showed that waste management costs can be significantly reduced through safe management practices.
WE International drafted national health care waste regulations on behalf of the Ministry of Health which, among other things, will require safe waste management practices in all health care settings nationwide and will ban waste incineration in central and provincial hospitals.
The regulations have been enacted by Ministerial Decision and are currently being rolled out by the Ministry of Health.
Many countries of the Asia Pacific region are highly vulnerable to natural as well as man-made disasters.
In post-disaster emergencies, affected countries look to the international community not only for material support but also for sound technical guidance and advice on the management of risks to public health arising from the disruption of infrastructure and services in sectors such as drinking-water supply, sanitation, shelter, vector control, food safety, communicable diseases, and mortuary services.
The World Health Organization (WHO) called upon WE International to support its country offices in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam in strengthening their capacity to prepare for and respond to environmental health emergencies.
WE International conducted an analysis of Mekong countries’ vulnerabilities to natural and man-made disasters and identified relevant sources of technical guidance as well as gaps in the literature.
WE International assembled an electronic library of “go to” guidance documents for easy access by WHO country offices and developed new guidance material to complement existing guidance where gaps had been identified. WE International’s resulting manual is now being prepared for publication by the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office.