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11 May 2021

10th May 2021

NOTICE PAPER NO. 418
NOTICE OF QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER\
FOR THE SITTING OF PARLIAMENT ON 10 MAY 2021
 

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Yip Hon Weng
MP for Yio Chu Kang GRC
 

Question No. 713
 

To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the amount of medical waste from our hospitals and clinics in the past year compared with five years ago; (b) what has been done to manage these waste for disposal; and (c) how are hospitals, clinics and other organisations in the healthcare sector working on reducing the amount of waste.

 
Answer
 

1        Most medical waste are biohazardous waste such as used syringes and Personal Protective Equipment, that require careful disposal.

2        From 2016 to 2020, the amount of biohazardous waste generated and disposed of increased from 4,400 to 5,700 tonnes (about 5% per annum)[1].  The increase may be attributed to several factors, including an increase in the number of patients seen in our hospitals; an increase in the treatments and procedures performed for these patients, particularly if they older and are more ill; and additional infection control and biosafety measures, especially in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

3        Biohazardous waste must be collected and disposed of safely to prevent cross-contamination risks and safeguard public health.  Healthcare workers are trained to segregate biohazardous wastes safely, which are collected by toxic industrial waste collectors licensed by the National Environment Agency for proper disposal.
 
4         For patient safety and care, it is not always feasible to avoid, reduce or reuse consumables which are necessary in treatment processes.  However, hospitals and clinics have been mindful in reducing and recycling non-biohazardous waste, including general waste such as office administrative waste, food waste and packaging material, where possible.  For example, plastic packaging materials of sterile equipment, fluids, and glove wrappings would be collected as recyclable waste.


[1] Source: National Environment Agency. Data period: 2016 to 2020