Al-Masry Al-Youm has observed the transfer of hazardous medical waste from the incinerator at Mahalla Febrile Diseases Hospital to the village of Dowakhliya, where it is burned in the village’s garbage dump.
The waste was seen being transported by farming tractors and open pick-up trucks commissioned by Mahalla city and the Hygiene and Maintenance Organization.
Hospital director Dr. Adel Nanaaie said burning hazardous waste in the village dump causes the spread of chronic respiratory diseases, particularly in children. Potential illnesses include chest allergies and chronic asthma, which can develop into pulmonary fibrosis and deadly cancers.
The dump director confirmed that hazardous waste was being burned in the dump because the hospital incinerator had broken down. Hospital records indicate that 550 citizens of the village were among the outpatients during 2009 for allergies, asthma, cancer and pulmonary fibrosis, and that ten percent of those had received hospital care for life-threatening conditions.
Al-Masry Al-Youm confronted health and environment officials in the governorate with residents' complaints. The Ministry of Health First Undersecretary in Gharbia Governorate admitted that the hospital's incinerators were not operational.