Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has published for public comment the draft Health Care Risk Waste (HCRW) Management Regulations.
Published under section 69(1) of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008) in Gazette No. 35405 of 1 June 2012, the aim of the regulations is to standardise the management of Health Care Risk Waste by providing a regulatory framework for its management.
It is also to establish a timeframe to bring all existing Health Care Risk Waste treatment facilities in compliance with the operational requirements for such facilities.
The regulations also prescribe requirements for the management of Health Care Risk Waste, which will ensure that third parties are protected and that HCRW no longer constitutes a threat to humans, animals or the environment.
According to some of the general prohibitions, no person may mix Health Care Risk Waste with general waste or any other waste stream at the point of generation, and HCRW may not be released for storage, treatment or disposal without a waste manifest document.
"The draft regulations stipulate the requirements for the packaging of Health Care Risk Waste which includes, amongst others, that packaging shall be filled to no more than three-quarters capacity of the container and that isolation waste as well as anatomical waste that is not suitable for containerisation must be double bagged, sealed and placed in a single-use container.
"With the exception of interim storage containers, all containers must be sealed, labelled and bar-coded or micro-chipped reflecting information on the date the container was sealed and the generator's registration number," said the Environmental Affairs Department in a statement.
The drafts Regulations also specify the duties of generators, transporters and waste managers in handling Health Care Risk Waste.
Any person found in contravention of these regulations will be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 15 years, an appropriate fine or both such a fine and imprisonment.
Interested and affected parties are invited to submit written comments to the minister within 60 days of publication of the notice in the Gazette. Written comments or inputs can be delivered by hand, mail, email or telefax transmission.
By post to:
The Director-General: Environmental AffairsAttention: Dr Shauna CostleyPrivate Bag X447Pretoria, 0001
Hand delivered at: 315 Pretorius Street, corner Pretorius and Van Der Walt streets, Fedsure Forum, Building, 2nd Floor (Reception), North Tower.
Enquiries: Dr Shauna Costley (012) 310 3330.
Comments received after the closing date may not be considered.
The gazette notice may be downloaded from www.sawic.org.za under "Documents for Comment".