Waste Management and Pollution Control

28 May 2024, Tarawa - Communities in Kiribati can now count on better management of healthcare waste on the island thanks to the recent commissioning of an incinerator for the disposal of medical waste at the Ronton Hospital, Kirimati.

The incinerator was secured through the Pacific – European Union (EU) Waste Management Programme, PacWastePlus (PWP). The incinerator and all spare parts were transferred to London Hospital on 7 May 2024.

As part of ongoing work, a request from Kiribati was made to PWP to procure, install and commission a high-temperature healthcare waste incinerator suitable for use at the Ronton Hospital. 

The project included the supply and installation of the incinerator enclosure, cyclone-rated and designed to protect the incineration plant from the natural environment, to provide a comfortable work environment and a small area for the storage of wastes materials if necessary.

“The hospital in Kiritimati had an incinerator donated by PIMA from the USA. It was out of function for quite so long and as such we had to burn the hospital waste at the waste land far away from the village twice a week,” Dr. Teraira Bangao explained. 

“We could not afford to travel twice a week to burn these medical waste. With the new incinerator which is within the hospital compound, we have no more problem travelling far away but just walk and burn these waste. The incinerator is so hot that all the wastes inside become ashes in two hours.”

As part of the request, training sessions on the identification and maintenance of all incineration plant components and operation of the incineration plant in an effective and environmentally sound manner was also provided. 

Three training sessions addressed the theory and operation of the incineration plant. These sessions were well attended, and the staff present were attentive and responsive. 
Two trial burns were performed where it was observed that the incinerator operated efficiently. 

“Thank you for providing us with the good quality incinerator together with a good and strong enclosure with a comfortable space inside for easy movement for staff working in it,” added Dr. Bangao. “We acknowledge the training sessions to our staff who will be responsible for operating the machine. They are now able to operate the machine and to replace broken spare parts so that the machine would continue to operate for years.”

Mr. Lance Richman, PacWastePlus Officer managing the works for SPREP, said the completed installation of the healthcare waste incinerator at London Hospital will now provide a vital service for the hospital and local community ensuring there is reduced chance for release of infection due to inappropriate waste management practices.  

The incinerator has joined support work PacWastePlus has implemented throughout the region to protect the health of communities and the environment from hazards related to medical waste.