islamabad - Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) is all set to operate the burning of infectious waste itself, with the start of hospital’s own incinerator during the current month of December. All codal formalities have been completed to install and start the incinerator as the hospital has obtained the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Pakistan Environment Protection Agency, an official of the hospital said on Sunday.

He said the incinerator has been placed while work is underway to make it ready for the test run which is expected in the current month by a team of foreign and local experts. “The process of installation of this incinerator is underway, which will have a capacity to burn around 100 kg hospital waste, an hour.

Under the agreement, the supplier will be responsible for operation and maintenance of the incinerator for three years.” “With the start of this incinerator, the hospital administration will be able to address the issue of dumping of its waste,” Dr Wasim Khawaja, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences spokesman said.

He said presently, the hospital’s non-infectious waste is disposed of by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) while the hospital has contracted out the collection and incineration of its infectious waste to the National Cleaner Production Centre of Attock Refinery Limited. He said the incinerator with having dual chambers can convert the waste into infection free ash, which could be safely dumped.

Dr Wasim said that this modern incinerator will operate both on gas and electricity. “We would have a choice to smoothly run the incinerator either on gas or electricity.” He said that the machine would burn solid waste which would be collected from various sections of the hospital at a high temperature of 800 °C to prevent from the risk of leaving infections.

He said that the hospital would have a second incinerator this month, which would be made operational within the current month. He said after installation of second incinerator, the hospital would be fully self-reliant as if one incinerator gets faults, the second would start operating. Dr Wasim Khawaja said the total cost of two incinerators is Rs 56 million.

It is pertinent to mention here that presently a huge quantity of hospital’s waste is collected daily without any safe disposal system while the waste is burnt openly which may cause spread of various infectious diseases besides negative effects on pollution, against the mandatory practice of burning hospital waste at a high temperature to avoid the risk of spreading infections. An amount of Rs 80 per kg is charged by NCPC from the hospital for collection and incineration of infectious waste.

Incineration is a waste treatment process that involves the combustion of organic substances contained in waste materials. Incineration and other high-temperature waste treatment systems are described as thermal treatment. Incineration of waste materials converts the waste into ash, flue gas and heat.

Medical waste incineration involves the burning of waste produced by hospitals. This waste includes both infectious medical wastes as well as non-infectious, general waste.  According to experts, incineration plants must be designed to ensure that the flue gases reach a temperature of at least 850 °C (1,560 °F) for two seconds in order to ensure proper breakdown of toxic organic substances.