The term “dioxins” refers to the family of 210 compounds of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans, including the most toxic, namely, 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-dibenzo-p-dioxin or 2,3,7,8-TCDD. Dioxins are persistent organic pollutants covered under Annex C of the Stockholm Convention.
The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from environmentally persistent chemicals that are transported great distances, bioaccumulate up the food chain, and are toxic at extremely low concentrations. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is the financing mechanism for the Stockholm Convention.
Mercury is a neurotoxin that also affects the lungs, kidneys, skin, eyes, and immune system. The Minamata Convention phases out the manufacture, import, and export of mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers by 2020.
The management of healthcare waste involves a set of best environmental practices to protect public health and the environment by minimizing waste and managing it properly from the point of generation to final disposal without compromising patient care and worker safety.
The Stockholm Convention calls for giving priority consideration to technologies that avoid the formation and release of dioxins and furans. The UNDP GEF project demonstrated state-of-the-art non-incineration technologies that do not generate dioxins and furans. These technologies use thermal, mechanical, biological or chemical processes to treat the waste.