In response to a video circulating on social media which shows what appears to be a build-up of bio-hazardous waste at the incineration site at Fort King George, the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development (DHWFD) said that its incinerators are working properly.
According to a press release, the incineration of the bio-hazardous waste generated from all of our 18 medical facilities are being done safely and expeditiously.
Tobago Regional Health Authority’s incinerator is fully operational and burning 500-600 kilograms of bio-hazard waste on a daily basis, including weekends and public holidays.
“The incineration process being undertaken by the TRHA continues to be done to international, environmental best practice standards, which include water treatment through the TRHA’s water treatment system,.”
As a result, “waste water can be made safe for surrounding areas, appropriate personal protective equipment and education for safe handling of bio-hazard waste and, installation of all the necessary signage to keep the staff, and the public, safe.”
The release said that the facility is equipped with security and is always locked to safeguard unauthorised personnel from accidental injuries.
“The video circulating which showed the usual collection of bio-hazard waiting to be incinerated is, in fact, sensationalising a normal part of the incineration process.”
“Visible waste build-up awaiting incineration is a necessary part of the incineration process, but visually unappealing to the public. Our signs discourage the public from using that road to maintain their safety and to protect their visual sensibilities.”
The division will be installing larger signs to deter trespassers as a way to strengthen the public safeguards and mitigate against posts that will unnecessarily agitate the public, the
Additionally, given the challenges faced by the residents at Signal Hill, Dwight Pierre, Mechanical Engineer at the TRHA explained “We are in the process of applying for a CEC [Certificate of Environmental Clearance] to move the incinerator from the new hospital to the facility at Fort King George, so that we can have both incinerators running.”
Pierre added that the TRHA has acquired a microwave sterilizer, which shreds waste and uses microwave technology to sterilize the waste.
He said “when this has been installed, we expect to stop incinerating altogether and continue to use the microwave technology.”
Mr. Pierre added “the service provider is from France…the installation process is very intricate so we have to wait on our nation’s borders to reopen so that the technicians can come in and install the sterilizer.”