The Clinical Waste Discussion Forum and The Lighter Side are part of a free service
provided by Blenkharn Environmental
Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) workers went to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital to speak with the administrative staff after finding dozens of syringes, tubes, vials of blood and insulin wrappers along the banks of the East Dry River, Port-of-Spain. CEPEP workers held a short meeting with senior staff members and aired their concerns. Ingrid Mullet, one of the workers, said she was cleaning the banks when she came upon the stash of syringes. “This is a serious thing and it spread out over the banks,” Mullet said. Field Operations officer, Jahdavid Andrew, said, “This is unsafe for the workers and members of the public. We don’t know if the hospital does or does not have a contract to move the waste.”
In the Norfolk incident, it was apparent that with the sack contents comprising only domestic-type wastes that was a case of pilfering of clinical waste sacks for personal domestic use. Not so in Trinidad.
These incidents occur regularly and have a serious and significant impact. beyond the adverse publicity, public distress and possibility of costly regulatory intervention [or probably not!], the adverse impact includes also risks to those coming into contact with the wastes, inadvertently or as part of a clean-up attempts, that places individuals at significant risk. That risk exists even where it turns out that, as in the Norfolk case, the wastes are not clinical.
An incident may necessitate the full panoply of preventative treatments for a presumed exposure incident. This is a tremendously serious situation where the risks of preventative treatments may themselves be severe, in addition to the possibly long-term psychological harm caused by the stress and anxiety felt by the injured person.