Burning of infectious waste in Nepal - „Technik ohne Grenzen“

The group from Amberg, Germany, called “Technik ohne Grenzen” (“Engineering without borders”) has the main goal of improving living conditions in developing countries. Technical expertise is used to help people in difficult situations. Through education and training courses affected persons shall be equipped with tools to help themselves. Hereby the team follows the motto “as technical as necessary, as easy as possible”. Among a lot of projects in Africa the “TeoG” (Technik ohne Grenzen) is now constructing an incinerator for a hospital in Nepal.

Technik ohne Grenzen e.V.

Figure 1: Existing building where the incinerator will be installed.
Local Situation

In the South of Nepal, close to the Indian Border the City of Butwal is located. From 140,000 citizens currently 200-250 people require ambulant services and 50-100 emergencies are counted. Since 1998 the Siddharta Women and Children Hospital serves these people with about 150 beds. Waste separation is rather rudimentary with three sections namely paper, needles and syringes, as well as histoid- and blood-residues. So far plastic waste and the used injection tools were planned to be burned every 4-5 days, alternatively the waste should be buried in the ground. However, often the highly infectious waste is deposited in the surrounding rainforest (see Figure 2). 
Figure 2: Infectious waste disposed in the surrounding rainforest.

Measures to achieve the objective

1.     The construction of a two-chamber-incinerator

2.     Host training courses for adequate and safe operation by the locals

3.     Supported by university research, improvement possibilities are recognized and evaluated

4.     Implementation of sustainable waste management system: separation, treatment of respective waste types (purposeful firing) and further processing of combustion output (ashes, needles, …), temporary and final storage

5.     Education of waste separation and emphasis of importance of waste treatment to the hospital staff

The incinerators are built like the model of „De Montfort".

In Butwal the „Mark 8a" was used, as this construction type is suitable for local conditions. Through the construction as a two-chamber-oven it meets the requirements for a successful incineration – namely high burning temperatures, turbulences and dwelling time. Thereby infectious waste is treated sufficiently and acceptable exhaust values are reached. Here a picture of the weather-protected shelter with a secure temporary waste storage and the two-chamber-incinerator:

Figure 3: Weather-protected shelter with a secure temporary waste storage and the two-chamber-incinerator: 

The main local supporters are the director of the hospital, Kalpana Shiwakoti, and her son. Also for the podiatrist Santosh Pokhrel, it is really important to solve the issue of the waste problem, due to health concerns. So far, the "Engineers without frontiers” are in steady contact via WhatsApp and Skype. A suitable site for the oven has been identified and the old brick building (see Figure 1) will be used as a temporary waste storage place after renovation.

A motivated team of six students of "Environmental Process Engineering” and one student of "Energy Technology and Efficiency” are coordinating the project. Additionally, the group is in regular exchange with the "TeoG” waste experts. The plan of sending two team members to Nepal unfortunately could not be realized due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Therefore, the project is now being worked on remotely. According to Sabrina Schweiger, member of the "TeoG”-group, everything is going well so far.

Thanks to the continuous contact to the local supporters, who supply the "TeoG” with current information and photographic documentation of the development, the progress can also be supported over far distance. In the construction phase, daily online-meetings are held to ensure that processes are carried out. Optionally, the German team will create a "step-by-step” video tutorial, to communicate important details about the construction and operation of the incinerator. The "maintenance”-team in Butwal is receiving online-training courses in adequate utilisation and care of the machinery.

If necessary (and possible), one member of the "TeoG” will subsequently visit Nepal to ensure the correct implementation of the measures. Also, the possibility for successor projects shall be assessed, whenever the time has come to visit the place.


More Information about the "Engineers without border” can be found here:

https://www.teog.ngo/teog_rg/amberg/ (German only)


Technik ohne Grenzen e.V. / Engineering without Borders
Richard-Strauß-Str. 38
D - 91315 Höchstadt

phone:+49 91934288

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