Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Ceisteanna (1222, 1223)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

1222. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the legislative and regulatory framework governing medical waste here; the legislation or regulation governing the collection and disposal of medical waste; the number of companies that operate under these rules; the percentage of medical waste disposed of correctly; the sanctions for breaches of the rules in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18791/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

1223. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the measures at European level that address the handling of medical waste; if new legislation or regulation is required in this area; if he is satisfied with the level of disposal in this area; if he has engaged in consultation on this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18792/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1222 and 1223 together.

The primary responsibility for the management of any waste, including costs for removal or disposal, lies with the holder of the waste, i.e. the natural or legal person in possession of the waste, or the producer of the waste.

The Waste Management Act imposes a general duty of care on holders of waste, under which a person may not hold, transport, recover or dispose of waste in a manner that causes, or is likely to cause, environmental pollution.

Persons who are found to be responsible for, or involved in, the unauthorised disposal of waste are liable to a maximum fine of €5,000 on summary conviction and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months, and to a maximum fine of €15 million on conviction on indictment and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.

The management of healthcare risk waste is guided by the Healthcare Risk Waste Management Segregation, Packaging & Storage Guidelines. Because healthcare risk waste may have a range of hazardous properties, it is subject to the strict handling and disposal requirements as set out in these guidelines.

In line with the European Union Waste Directive harmonising the categorisation and control of waste, hazardous waste is defined by reference to specific generic types provided the contents display specific hazardous properties. Items on the list of hazardous properties of most relevance to healthcare include: flammable (H3), toxic (H6), carcinogenic (H7), corrosive (H8), infectious (H9), mutagenic (H11) and eco-toxic (H14).

The transportation of healthcare waste is governed by several sets of regulations dealing with different concerns relating to the materials transported. All waste carriers require waste collection permits as per the requirements of the Waste Management(Collection Permit) Regulations, the movement of hazardous waste must be accompanied by Waste Transfer Forms as per the Shipments of Hazardous Waste Regulations and Transfrontier Shipment documentation is required for the export of hazardous healthcare risk waste as per the Waste Management (Shipments of Waste) Regulations.

Hazardous waste statistics for Ireland are collated by the Environmental Protection Agency and can be accessed at the following link: https://www.epa.ie/nationalwastestatistics/hazardous/ .