Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Field Implementation guidances are useful for the design and execution of humanitarian activities in the field.
Existing health services and community behaviours around waste affects the environment and health. The capacity of the environment to absorb the impacts of waste and pollution impacts the scale of humanitarian assistance required.
Vulnerable people, who are often excluded, should be consulted regarding their needs and capacities, and given choice and information in waste management options.
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems
Environmental impact assessments to help prevent or mitigate environmental impacts, including:
Health facilities and health services should be supported with environmental impact assessments to help prevent or mitigate environmental impacts. This should include sustainable solid waste, medical waste, food waste, and sewage treatment, and should address all potential sources of pollution to air, soil, and water as well as potential disease transmission from person to person.
Cleaning products should be sourced and used appropriately, to minimise negative impacts on the environment, particularly chemical spills and untreated wastewater discharge into the environment. Wherever possible, organic, biodegradeable products should be used where they are of sufficient quality.
Construction practices and materials sourcing should be assessed and planned for to avoid unsustainably depleting natural resources, harm to biodiversity and ecosystems, or negative impacts on on-site drainage, watercourse, and groundwater recharge. Vulnerable biodiversity should be assessed and protected and environmental hazards should be assessed and reduced including flood risk, risk of landslides, and risk of soil degradation.
Building maintenance, operation, and procurement should be assessed to ensure environmentally sustainable practices and products are used, locally sourced if possible.
Greenhouse gas emissions should be assessed and mitigated, for example from excessive energy use for heating and cooling, and from procurement/transport emissions.
In the Covid 19 response in Bangladesh, the MoH, WHO, UNICEF, IFRC, Donors, and NGOs collaborated in joint procurement of medicines and health items and in joint waste management and recycling, substantially reducing the amount of waste produced.
The number of health facilities where an environmental waste management plan has been developed and is being implemented.
Time, resources and budget to assess waste sources, opportunities for waste reduction, re-use, recycling, treatment and reduce or remove environmental pollution.