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10 detained over illegal medical waste trade


08:17, May 30, 2013

GUANGZHOU, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Ten people have been detained by police for alleged illegal trading, transporting and storing of medical waste in Puning City in south China's Guangdong Province, local authorities said on Wednesday.

Yan Qiusheng and Lin Donghao, vice presidents of the Puning People's Hospital, have been given Communist Party of China and administrative disciplinary sanctions, it was revealed at a press conference organized by the Puning municipal government.

The two vice presidents as well as the president of the hospital have been suspended from their positions so far, Chen Yumin, Puning's deputy mayor, said at the press conference.

The directors of the city's health bureau and environmental protection bureau are still being investigated, Chen said.

Four medical waste recycling stations were closed and a truck transporting the waste was seized on Tuesday, the deputy mayor added.

The case was disclosed on Sunday by online posts claiming that over 10 tonnes of medical waste have been found by villagers in a forest in the village of Nanyang, Puning City.

Initial investigation showed that medical waste produced by the Puning People's Hospital was divided to two kinds according to the raw materials -- glass and plastic products.

Some glass bottles were sold to glass plants as cullet while others were recycled after simple cleaning and sterilizing. Plastic syringes and infusion bottles were also collected and recycled by plastic processing plants.

Further investigation is under way.

Medical waste normally refers to waste products that have direct or indirect infection or toxicity or other potential for harm, produced from healthcare institutions. They are considered as the most dangerous waste in China.

The State Council introduced a regulation to control medical waste in June, 2003. It prescribed that unit and individuals were prohibited from selling or transferring medical waste. Inappropriate storing and dumping of dangerous waste was also banned by the regulation.

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