Waste water from hospitals poisoning local residents

Published: 21/06/2011 05:00


In HCM City, the waste water from many hospitals goes directly to sewers without any treatment, thus bringing germs from hospitals to the community.

In HCM City, the waste water from many hospitals goes directly to sewers without any treatment, thus bringing germs from hospitals to the community.

No money, no place for waste water treatment systems

Everyday, the HCM City Oncology Hospital receives 800-1000 patients and makes 100 operations on average. The waste water treatment of the hospital has degraded seriously; therefore, the waste water from the hospital, for the last several years, has been going directly to the environment.

Here at the hospital, patients not only have to stay in stuffy rooms due to the overloading, but they also have to hold their noses every time, when the waste water flows out from the treatment system to the public sewage.

Twenty years ago, the hospital built a waste water system which covers an area of 20 square meters. However, there is only one small tank containing chlorine solution for disinfection. However, the waste water from the hospital still smells stinky.

The An Binh Hospital has a waste water treatment system built with the cost of 85.4 billion dong funded by the city’s budget. However, the system only operated for two years, and it has stopped working for the last eight years.

“Every day, the hospital discharges 500 cubic meters directly to the environment without any treatment,” an official of the hospital said.

There are nine hospitals and one healthcare centers in district 5, but to date, five hospitals still do not have waste water treatment systems.

Especially, even at Cho Ray Hospital, where hundreds of operations are carried out a day and 2000-3000 patients get treatment, the waste water treatment system here is very weak.

Every day the hospital discharges 3000 cubic meters of waste water, which is beyond the capacity of the waste water treatment system. Meanwhile, the technology of the system only allows filtering of the typhoid and cholera germs, but cannot treat other kinds of germs.

Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital, the Orthopedic Trauma Hospital, Hoan My, the Hematology Blood Transfusion Hospital and a lot of districts’ hospitals also discharge medical waste water directly to the environment.

In 1999, the Phu Nhuan district’s Hospital built a waste water treatment system that fits the hospital with 70 beds. However, in 2007, when the number of beds increased to over 100, the system has become paralyzed. Therefore, according to Dr Nguyen Thanh Son, Director of the Phu Nhuan district’s hospital, the waste water also goes directly to the environment, even though the hospital is located near residential quarters.

In 2010, the HCM City Mental Hospital was charged a fine by the HCM City Department for Natural Resources and the Environment, because it did not have a waste water treatment system. However, the leaders of the hospital said the hospital had no other choice than accepting to pay fines, because it has no more room for the treatment system.

Medical waste water – the threat to people’s health

According to Dr Nguyen Dinh Tuan, Head of the HCM City Environment Protection Sub-department, every day, the city has 17,500 cubic meters of medical waste water discharging to the environment, 18 percent of which does not go through treatment.

The latest surveys show that the quality of the water at Tham Luong – Vam Thuat, Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe, Tau Hu – Ruot Ngua canal, Te Canal on Can Giuoc River, Tan Hoa – Lo Gom had the organic pollution level higher than in the previous years.

According to Huynh Van Biet, Deputy Director of the HCM City Healthcare Department, only nine out of the 29 districts in the city have the waste water treatment systems meeting the standards, while the others don’t have, or have treatment systems, but the systems cannot meet the requirements.


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