Home News Medical waste ‘dumped’ at NC holiday resort

Medical waste ‘dumped’ at NC holiday resort

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Die Eiland resort in Upington was used as a Covid-19 quarantine site by the Department of Health

Picture: Upington.co.za

BOXES of medical waste at Die Eiland holiday resort in Upington, which was used as a quarantine site for Covid-19 patients last year, have been left uncollected for several months.

The DA caucus leader at Dawid Kruiper Municipality, Henk Opperman, said on Wednesday that the dumping of medical waste was reported to the Green Scorpions as monkeys were scavenging in the boxes that were discarded outside the chalets.

“Aside from the potential transmission of infectious diseases to humans, the monkeys at the resort have already climbed into the waste and may already have been exposed to harmful material,” said Opperman.

“Dumping of medical waste is a criminal offence and whoever is responsible for this careless action must be firmly dealt with.”

He pointed out that improperly disposed of medical waste posed a health and environmental danger.

“With the Covid-19 pandemic already on our hands, we cannot afford another outbreak of diseases caused by the failure of people to comply with the lawful disposal of medical waste.”

The spokesperson for Dawid Kruiper Municipality, Patrick Williams, said that Die Eiland resort was used as a quarantine site by the Department of Health from April until October 31 last year.

“Since then, the municipality has struggled to get the Department of Health to clean the huts, wash the bedding and the curtains. The Department of Health only started the cleaning process during December 2020. The process was stopped during January 2021 due to the supply chain management processes of the Department of Health,” said Williams.

He indicated that staff at the resort started the cleaning process in February.

“The medical waste inside two of the huts had to be removed by the Department of Health in line with health regulations.

“The Department of Health came to clean huts 33 and 39 on March 24. Garbage and refuse were placed in boxes and taped shut to be picked up by the department and therefore it was put in front of hut 39. There was ordinary rubbish and disposable overalls in the rubbish bags, which unfortunately have not yet been picked up by the department.”

Williams said the department had not collected the refuse as promised on March 26.

He added that the holiday resort was closed to the public.

“No visitors are allowed to visit or enter the premises. The administration is busy cleaning and revamping the resort to ensure we provide a proper service once we are allowed to operate. The Department of Health is responsible for the removal of medical waste and they’ve committed themselves to remove it from the resort.”

He indicated that all the chalets at the resort were deep-cleaned during November and December.

“The Department of Health has since removed all the medical waste over the weekend.”

Williams explained that the council had decided to sell Die Eiland, with the intention that it remains a holiday resort.

“Various processes must still follow in this regard and therefore it will be continued to be used as such in the future.”

The Department of Health did not respond to media enquiries.