This paper discusses actions aimed at sustainable management of healthcare wastes (HCW) in China, taking into account the current national situation in this field, as well as the requirements deriving from the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the WHO recommendations. By the end of 2005, there were 149 low-standard HCW disposal facilities in operation in China, distributed throughout different areas. According to the National Hazardous Waste and Healthcare Waste Disposal Facility Construction Plan, 331 modern, high-standard, centralized facilities will be built up in China in municipal level cities. Although incineration is still the main technical option for HCW disposal in China, it is expected that, especially for medium and small size facilities, non-incineration technologies will develop quickly and will soon become the main technical option. The basic management needs - both from the point of view of pollution control and final disposal - have been defined, and a system of technical and environmental standards has been formulated and implemented; however, there are still some shortages. This is particularly true when considering the best available techniques and best environmental practices developed under the Stockholm Convention, with which the present technological and managing situations are not completely compliant. In this framework, the lifecycle (from generation to final disposal of wastes) of HCW and holistic approaches (technology verification, facilities operation, environmental supervision, environmental monitoring, training system, financial mechanism, etc.) towards HCW management are the most important criteria for the sustainable and reliable management of HCW in China.
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