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Start page / Health-care waste reduction

Project Title:
"Demonstrating and promoting best techniques and practices for reducing health-care waste to avoid environmental releases of dioxins and mercury"

Project Area:
Persistent Organic Pollutants with linkages to International Waters through OP 10

Project number:

Project duration: 2008 - 2012

Local responsible party:
Ministry of Health of the Republic of Latvia

Total budget: 24 203 735 USD $
Budget for Latvia: 600 000 USD $

United Nations Development Programme
Global Environment Facility

Project Executing Agency:
United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS)

Project Implementing Agency:
Latvian Environmental Investment Fund

Project contact information:

National Project Coordinator
Jūlija Gušča

National Technical Advisor
Māris Klindžāns



Environmental contaminants of global concern enter the environment in significant quantities as a result of the activities of health-care facilities and services (e.g., hospitals, clinics, immunization campaigns, veterinary clinics, tattoo studio, etc.) and the treatment and disposal of resulting wastes. As health systems are strengthened and health-care coverage expanded in developing countries through efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals, the releases of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and other persistent toxic substances (PTS) to the environment can increase substantially. This is often an unintended consequence of choices in materials and processes that seek to improve health outcomes.


The project's overall objective is to reduce environmental releases of dioxins and mercury by promoting best techniques and practices for reducing and managing health care waste.

The Project will demonstrate the effectiveness of non-combustion health-care waste treatment technologies, waste management practices and other techniques to avoid environmental releases of dioxins and mercury in eight strategically selected countries - Argentina, India, Latvia, Lebanon, the Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania and Vietnam - representing a range of income and indebtedness classifications, four of the six official UN languages and all of the world's five development regions. In each participating country, the Project will develop best practice health-care waste management models through collaborations with at least one large hospital, as well as with an appropriate combination of smaller clinics, rural health and/or injection programs and pre-existing central treatment facilities. In Latvia as Project partners are involved two regional hospitals, two centralized medical waste treatment facilities and veterinary clinics.

Project implementation

The Project administration and implementation is ensured by Latvian Environmental Investment Fund and UNDP Bratislava Regional office. Project implementation is supervised by the Project National Director (Juris Bundulis, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Latvia), the National Implementing Director (Ilze Puriņa, Chairperson of the Board of Latvian Environmental Investment Fund) and the Project Steering Committee.


The Project will have a strong regional component for the purpose of disseminating Project outcomes through participation of health care facilities and organizations from other countries in the region in the training programs and/or in regional conferences. Additionally, the Project envisions regional distribution of reports to selected governments, Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) and NGOs in the region, and visits by representatives of selected governments, IGOs and NGOs in the region to the model facilities in order to promote best practices throughout the region.

Project outcomes to be achieved in Latvia are:

1. Best practices for health-care waste management demonstrated, documented and made replicable
2. Appropriate non-incineration health-care waste treatment technologies successfully deployed and demonstrated
3. (Demonstration technology) Use of mercury-free devices and best practices for management of mercury waste demonstrated, documented and made replicable
4. New and/or enhanced training programs established to build capacity for the implementation of best practices and appropriate technologies beyond model facilities and programs
5. National policies aimed at replicating and sustaining best techniques and practices demonstrated by the Project explored and, where feasible, initiated
6. Project results disseminated to all stakeholders for awareness raising aimed at their replication
7. Global, regional and national counterparts from agencies, governments and NGOs beyond participating countries informed of best techniques and practices for the purpose of replication

Additional information source:


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