GEORGE NEWS - George Hospital staff, joined by students, friends and families, kicked off the awareness campaign of Global Green and the Healthy Hospital project this past weekend with a beach clean-up at Glentana.
At first glance the beach appeared clean, but as the team spread out across the sand, they uncovered a range of plastic, fishing line, glass, cigarette butts and other litter, which filled numerous waste bags.
Nadia Ferreira, a spokesperson for George Hospital, says George Hospital is a registered member of Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH). This is an international network that aims to promote greater sustainability and environmental health in the health sector, thereby strengthening health systems globally.
Michael Vonk, the CEO of the hospital, said, "In line with the GGHH agenda, staff at George Hospital recognise that we cannot have healthy people on a sick planet and have committed to put George Hospital at the forefront of a global movement for environmental health.
"Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and support staff are playing leadership roles in transforming the hospital and becoming advocates for policies and practices that promote public environmental health."
These environmental health problems are increasing pressure on, and eroding the capacity of, already thinly stretched healthcare systems, explains Vonk. "Meanwhile, the health sector itself is paradoxically contributing to these very environmental health problems, even as it attempts to address their impacts.
"Through the products and technologies it employs, the resources it consumes, the waste it generates and the buildings it constructs and operates, the health sector is a source of pollution around the world, and therefore an unintentional contributor to trends that undermine public health."
Vonk said since initiating an on-site recycling project in January this year, George Hospital has prevented seven tons from going to landfill. The hospital is currently training staff in appropriate segregation, which is expected to further increase the volume of recyclables collected.
The hospital is specifically looking at ways to reduce harmful healthcare risk waste (medical waste), as this has to be incinerated before being safely disposed, causing air pollution. The hospital is also involved in a project looking at green procurement and the cleaning chemical it uses, and exploring possible partnerships around sustainable energy solutions.
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