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Waste Management

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Waste Mission

Waste management poses a major challenge for many regions, and Laos is no exception. Although authorities acknowledge the issue in their 2021-2025 development plan, large urban centers can only collect 40 to 60% of the generated waste, leaving a significant portion piled up in the open, with frequent illegal dumpsites in rural areas.

Human and Environmental Impacts

Beyond the aesthetic impact, the inefficient waste management poses serious issues of hygiene and environmental protection in Laos. According to the World Bank in 2021, waste-related pollution leads to approximately 10,000 deaths per year. Additionally, each year, four tons of plastic waste are dumped into the seas, primarily fueled by the Mekong, a livelihood source for 70 million people engaged in activities such as fishing, transportation, agriculture, and energy production.

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The transition to a lifestyle more focused on the consumption of imported products has exacerbated the problem: the lack of structural organization in waste management to cope with the increasing quantity of waste has created significant health and environmental risks.

This issue also extends to hospitals, where PEMM is involved. In addition to general waste management, hospital waste poses a particular challenge due to its potentially hazardous nature, including active products or residues of human fluids such as syringes and medical leftovers. Our observations in many district hospitals and health centers reveal inadequate practices such as burying and burning hospital waste, leading to increased pollution, health risks, and contamination of soil and groundwater.
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Sophun Health Center's Burial Pit
Aware of these risks, PEMM has decided to add a third intervention axis focused on hospital waste management. We aim to mitigate associated risks by working on healthcare infrastructure, thereby ensuring a safe environment for patients and hospital users.
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