Thu, May 01, 2003 - Page 3 News List

SARS epidemic: EPA assures public, tackles medical waste from SARS

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said that processing severe acute respiratory syndrome (SAR) infected waste from Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital is going well.

Outside the hospital yesterday morning, trucks containing waste from the hospital were sprayed with chemicals to disinfect the waste.

Operators of Sunny Friend Environmental Technology Co, a contracted waste handler with the hospital, were processing the waste transfer from Taipei to Yunlin County under the supervision of local environmental and health officials.

On Tuesday, the EPA established a taskforce which focuses on supervising infectious waste produced by places that have been quarantined because of SARS. Since then, local environmental bureaus have been in charge of collecting infectious waste from quarantined areas nation-wide.

The Department of Health promises to offer the EPA's garbage collectors in northern cities and counties with more than 1,000 professional masks.

According to EPA Administrator Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), infectious waste collected from quarantined residential areas and hospitals will be processed carefully in order to ensure the publics health.

To pacify disgruntled Yunlin County residents, who protested on Monday against the transfer of 1.2 tonnes of infectious waste from Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital, Hau and Yunlin County Commissioner Chang Jung-wei (張榮味) on Tuesday visited the incinerator run by Sunny Friend in Yunlin to demonstrate that the government is paying much attention to SARS waste management.

"We are in wartime and we're fighting against SARS, which is hard to deal with," Hau said.

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