Magazina ku duhet te trajtoheshin mbetjet spitalore
The “ghost” company contracted by the Ministry of Health and licensed by the Ministry of Environment, of which the latter does not have the necessary tools for this process. Two thousand tons of hospital waste is produced every year in our country, while only a small amount of it gets destroyed. Public health specialists give the alert to the risk that hospital waste that is disposed in public places can threaten public health.
By Endrit Habilaj
Hospital waste is one of the most disturbing problems in our country. Companies that are contracted by the Ministry of Health and licensed by the Ministry of Environment do not handle hospital waste as required by our Albanian law. But also the World Health Organization, of which we are part of, is concerned about the hospital waste while it provides funds of millions of Euros for their treatment. Only three companies possess a license for the treatment of hospital waste: Medi-tel, Ilirjan & Kadeli and Euroteam, while in Albania there are 2500 manufacturers of hospital remnants.
The Association of Journalists for Justice denounces one of these companies, which results as “ghost” and is contracted by State Hospital of Berat and two private hospitals in Tirana for the treatment of hazardous hospital remnants. It is for the company “Euroteam sh.p.k” where investigim.al investigated to search a database for its procedure of registration, its activity and also about its agreements with health institutions. This company appears to have changed its address in the National Registration Center (NRC) over 10 times within 14 months. But this company before changing again its name has been localized by investigim.al and journalists were able to enter to its internal environments.
From the outside, the warehouse which is located near Kashar in the capital and rented from “Euroteam sh.p.k” seems to meet the capacity, despite the fact that its location is found in a populated area.
Warehouse from the inside
The Association of Journalists for Justice infiltrated inside the warehouse to see if this company exercised activity for the treatment of hospital waste. But inside the warehouse it was only one outdated incinerator that did not work, while the rest had no equipment that is needed to realize the annihilation of hospital waste. This fact was confirmed by the owner of the warehouse, which said that the environment is leased by citizen Mirela Topulli (Euroteam sh.p.k administrator) who has not been present not a single day in the warehouse. Investigim.al makes available internal picture of the warehouse environment where allegedly hospital waste is destroyed.
The company “Euroteam sh.pk” which operates in Tirana, and which according to the Procurement Agency has signed a contract with State Hospital of Berat about the treatment of hospital waste, has only one car available, type “Peugeot Partner”, plates AA 390. The biggest question is how this company transports all hospital waste from the city of Berat to Tirana. The Association of Journalists for Justice found out that the company in question does not actually do such a thing. The company “Euroteam sh.p,k” abusively after loading hospital waste from State Hospital of Berat discharge them in Osumi River where the latter joins Devoll River and ends in the Adriatic Sea. Investigim.al possesses photos taken by Osumi River showing hospital waste with urban waste thrown on the embankment.
Disposal of hospital waste in Osumi River has not passed unnoticed by the residents of Berat. “The state does not take measures for this situation. When heavy rains occur, water overflows and so do waste too. Among the waste we have seen hospital equipment also, such as syringes, serum or compresses box”, said one of the residents of the city of Berat. This scandalous phenomenon for human health causes unpredictable consequences to the spread of epidemic diseases. The World Health Organization provides millions of Euros for the treatment of hazardous hospital waste, while the Ministry of Health also has a budget of $ 8 million a year exclusively for the treatment of medical waste from contracted company. But “Euroteam sh.p.k” has no capacity to do so, as it lacks means of transport to Tirana and plant for the treatment of hazardous hospital waste.
Document of ministry of environment
The Association of Journalists for Justice possesses a decision of the Ministry of Environment to suspend the activity of the company “Euroteam sh.p.k” due to violation of environmental permit conditions. According to some several violations of environmental permit conditions the company “Euroteam sh.p.k” has been fined and its activity has been suspended by the Environmental Inspectorate. By order no.288, dated 4.02.2014 of the Minister of Environment, the environmental permit of the company has been suspended and as a result the subject and the National Environmental Center were informed in accordance with the law.
But the suspension of the permit for the activity of “Euroteam sh.p.k” lasts only 3 months as the company takes back the right to annihilate hazardous hospital waste, despite the fact that it does not possess the facilities to do so. The Ministry of Environment explains the order issued from this department to remove to the company the measure for suspension of activity. The Ministry of Environment explains: “By completing the tasks left, observed by the Environmental Inspection, upon request and documentation submitted by the company ‘Euroteam sh.p.k’, pursuant to law the Inspectorate presented the expiration of the suspension of activity and environmental permit, which was approved by the Minister of Environment by order no.288/1, dated 04.22.2014”.
The Association of Journalists for Justice also verified that the “ghost” company, until today, continues based on a signed contract with the Berat State Hospital and two private hospitals in Tirana. Investigim.al possesses the payment made on December for “Euroteam sh.p.k” by the Berat State Hospital for the service of hospital waste disposal, that in fact are thrown in Osumi River.
But what is the risk for us as citizens from hospital waste which are irresponsibly thrown into rivers and end up in the sea? “Mainly the most dangerous of these remnants are needles, scissors, syringes, lama, remains of glass where microorganisms are planted, and different varieties. Everything that is dangerous and manipulated by personnel causes many diseases on the organism. Most important are hepatitis, almost three hepatitis A, B, C, and AIDS also can be caused by medical waste, skin infections, eye infections, genital infections, respiratory infections, meningitis and a series of other diseases that affect residents if they are not properly and scientifically treated “, said Head of the Department of Health and Environment of the Public Health Institute, Arben Luzati.
More than one thousand tons of hazardous hospital waste, is disposed outdoors and Albanians live with the risk of infectious diseases and cancer. In Albania, every year over 4 thousand people are diagnosed with tumor and thousands of others are affected by diseases caused by infectious hospital waste.
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