CAMEROON: Hysacam launches anti-Covid-19 protocol in waste management

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CAMEROON: Hysacam launches anti-Covid-19 protocol in waste management©Richard van der Spuy/Shutterstock

The spread of Covid-19 has reached the alarming level of 5,000 cases of infection in Cameroon. In Yaoundé, the capital, a health safety protocol has been launched by the hygiene and sanitation company, Hysacam, to block the path of the Coronavirus in the area of household waste management.

A garbage collector sprays chlorinated water mixed with javel water on a garbage bin set up in front of the emergency centre of Yaoundé’s central hospital. There is one of the city’s garbage dumps, where the health danger is very high. “The Messa district is very sensitive, because of the presence of many hospitals in the area. Even though we are responsible for collecting only household waste, it can happen that hospital waste may inadvertently end up in our bins,” says a garbage collector. The bin that is being disinfected consists largely of used items such as surgical masks, gloves and syringes. A bitter pill, for the company in charge of household waste collection, Hysacam (Hysacam), which sees in this soiled waste, a serious risk of spreading Covid-19.

Thus, to protect not only its garbage collectors, but also the households that are also in contact with the waste, Hysacam proceeded on May 25, 2020, to activate a specific protocol for the prevention of coronavirus in the waste collection and treatment sector in the capital. “We have increased the number of garbage bins as well as the rotation of our trucks in the neighbourhoods in order to reduce the length of time garbage remains in households” said Frederick Nyobè, head of operations of the Hysacam office in Yaounde. The company has also suspended the sorting of waste in its landfill, and its nearly 400 garbage bins are systematically washed and impregnated with disinfectant during their passage to the landfill.

Zero cases of infection among Yaoundé’s garbage collectors

The Covid-19 health crisis has reached a worrying threshold in Cameroon. The Central African country has already passed the 5,000 contamination mark. But so far, no garbage collectors have been infected in Yaoundé, the Cameroonian epicentre of the pandemic. In the pursuit of securing the safety of its staff, Hysacam, which employs about 500 agents in the city of Yaoundé, is calling for the collaboration of households and health centres without incinerators. “When you want to get rid of your protective masks, or hospital waste, make sure you wrap them in plastic before throwing them in the garbage bins,” says Olivier Kaptué, quality manager at Hysacam.

Hysacam’s antiCovid-19 protocol does not extend to those involved in the pre-collection of household waste. It concerns units whose role is to collect household waste at home, in neighbourhoods not served by the Hysacam company, because of their isolation. They are all the more exposed as they also provide weeding and cleaning of the gutters…

Boris Ngounou

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