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Feb 20, 1998

More medical waste turns up as landfill

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We are all familiar with the saying, “Haad aze pikni go da maakit two time”. Well it seems that somewhere in Belize City there is a “haad aze” garbage man, as well as a “haad aze” medical clinic. Patrick Jones reports.

It’s the part of Belize City that is undergoing rapid development and when one land owner decided it was time to build, this was the last thing he expected to find on his property.

For the second time in as many months, hospital waste belonging to Belize Medical Associates has turned up in a residential area. The owner of the property opted not to have his identity disclosed but told News Five that whoever dumped the blood, syringes and body parts on his property was, in his words, “reckless”.

Property Owner

“Somebody called me and said, you need to check your land because there is parts of medical garbage, and I come here and check the bags and I think that’s a big problem. It?s very dangerous and I want if they, if any medical association or the hospital or whoever could pick up this for me, because for the future I’m thinking of building my house here and what happen if my babies later is going to find something here.”

What we did find among the used surgical gloves, needles, I.V. bags and other bloodied material was documentation linking the payload to Medical Associates. When we stopped by the hospital, the General Manager Maria Gomez told us that Belize Medical will not accept responsibility for the garbage ending up here and pointed the finger right back to Juan Molina, the man previously contracted to dispose of garbage from the facility.

So to get his side of the story, we paid Molina a visit at his home, and to our surprise, the man flatly denied having anything to do with this latest incident. Molina admits knowing only of the incident in January, when a similar load of bio-hazardous waste that was to have been incinerated was dumped on this open lot on Tibruse Street. This, he said, was as a result of a mistake by a sub-contractor, Vincent Francis. When we asked if it was possible that Francis had deposited the garbage here and not told him, Molina said no, because Francis would have charged him for it and he only made one payment – for the one on Tibruse street.

So the million dollar question remains: How did potentially deadly hospital waste end up in the middle of a residential area on northside Belize? And more importantly, will it happen again? Patrick Jones, for News Five.

Maria Gomez of Belize Medical Associates told News Five that her company will pay the City Council to dispose of the waste. When we called Kenroy Ellis, the Council’s sanitation manager, he said he was not aware of the incident, but after a personal inspection he told us that for the safety of the public he would have the mess cleaned up this evening. Calling the dumping “a disgrace,” he added that if further investigations prove that the biohazardous waste was put there after his office had warned them in January, he would push for heavy fines against the medical clinic.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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