Clinical waste poses serious threat to scavengers

In many parts of the world, waste tips and landfill sites are populated by scavengers who scrape a living from the salvage of reusable and recyclable items from wastes. Many live near the tip, some even making their homes on, sometime in, the tip itself.

When clinical wastes are tipped, salvage of dressings and other items such as needles and syringes can be a significant hazard to those scavengers and to others who might be treated with unsterilised and unsafe equipment items. 

As we have discussed in the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum many times previously, even where this vile trade does not exist, the risk to scavengers exposed inadvertently to hazardous clinical waste items can be considerable. This report by David Njagi paints a thoughtful and disturbing picture of the risks faced each day by scavengers on the tips of Kenya.

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