The “Management of hazardous chemical and biological waste in the African Atlantic Façade region and Tunisia” project, financed by the European Union and led by the FIIAPP, will contribute with its work to reducing the risk of infection to prevent contagion with diseases like Ebola.
The current outbreak of Ebola started some weeks after the start of the project and, since then the focus on West Africa has heightened with respect to the treatment of hazardous biological wastes. In the research mission carried out in Liberia and five other West African countries, the project work team found only one modern incinerator capable of destroying hazardous biological wastes without causing contamination. It was also discovered in these missions that only a small handful of countries have very little or no capacity to neutralise or destroy hazardous biological wastes. In many cases, they are sent to landfills where they are mixed with ordinary wastes, and this means that they most likely seep into the ecosystem.
Although incineration is not the only way to neutralise or destroy hazardous biological wastes, this project, CBRN 35, brought the lack of incineration capacity in the region to the attention of the World Bank, which has financed, the installation of 12 incinerators in Liberia. The first task will be to clean up some treatment centres, such as JFK, Redemption and ELWA, by destroying a large accumulation of highly infectious hazardous biological wastes.
In early 2015, project activities will focus on training staff in the region on internationally recognised standards for the handling of hazardous biological wastes, including topics related to the Ebola virus, in order to reduce the risk of contagion. A public awareness campaign will also be conducted in the region.
The objective of the project, which relies on the CBRN Centres of Excellence (CoE) initiative, is to improve the handling of hazardous chemical and biological wastes in seven countries in the African Atlantic Façade region and Tunisia.
The project joins efforts underway all over the world to fight the Ebola epidemic.