Friday, May 1, 2020

Safe & Secure Disposal of Wastes from Hospitals/Quarantine/Isolation Zones

Dear ……..

Greetings from Bhutan ... I hope you are well and keeping safe. For your own safety and that of your family, please practice physical distancing.

COVID-19 is ravaging the world. Bhutan has had 7 cases so far as of yesterday - fortunately all imported and detected upon arrival and quarantined/isolated. Most of them have recovered. Two were American citizens and they have recovered and are back home safely.

Something the Rotary Club of Thimphu's Members have been worried about is the emergence of a community infection - local COVID-19 case. Thus we are all working hard to keep that from happening.

Unfortunately, recently we discovered that while our King and the government are commandeering the issue very attentively and strictly, there have been some slips between the cup and the lip, by a number of agencies responsible to oversee, and arrange the safe disposal of municipalities’ garbage. Incidences of improper disposal of used materials from our quarantine/isolation facilities have been reported. This is a huge concern for the country and the people. As you may be aware, incorrect disposal of waste from the quarantine/isolation facilities can result in dangerous consequences. We have to assume that every item emerging out of the quarantine/isolation zones and hospitals where the positive cases are treated are potential threats. This means we have to protect the waste handlers as well, in addition to the fact that a separate protocol has to be adopted for waste collection and disposal from the quarantine/isolation zones.

As of now, the only safe method of disposing contaminated or infected material in our view is through incinerating the wastes generated at the quarantine/isolation zones and hospitals. Unfortunately, as of now Bhutan does not have a single incinerator to safely dispose off contaminated and toxic material and medical wastes.

Thus as a measure to ward off COVID-19 and safe disposal of contaminated/biologically hazardous material, we have requests from authorities for help in procuring incinerators that are environmentally safe to operate. We know of such affordable and safe incinerators that will do the job.

Therefore I write to ask you if the TRF would support our application for a Global Grant for purchase of incinerators. We will apply under "Fighting Disease and Disaster Response". If you think that our proposal has a chance of seeing the light of day, I will start to look for partner Clubs to partner with us on this critical item of need.

Please respond to me quickly so that I can start the preparatory work promptly.

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