Featured Case Study
A Solar Water Heating Solution in a Public Hospital
The management at HBT Medical College and Dr RN Cooper Municipal General hospital, Mumbai took the initiative of installing solar water heating systems to save electricity units from conventional sources and switch to clean energy. It is also aimed at reducing the hospital’s carbon footprint.
Capacity of solar water heating system at the campus is 3000 Litres (L) per day in 6 buildings which is equal to 18,000L as total capacity of 6 buildings. On an average day 100L of water per day system saves up to 1500 electricity units per year as per the efficiency capacity installed. So, 18000L per day system saves 27,0000 electricity units per year. Cost of one unit of electricity is 10 INR, given the savings, it will result to 2,700,000 INR ($37,500) per year. The total cost in installing this system is 4,230,000 ($58,570). The cost invested in installing this system will be received back as financial savings in 19 months.
Role of Health Sector In Climate Change: India Perspective
The health sector has a central role under changing climatic conditions to become both climate-smart and resilient in their operations. Paradoxically, the health sector contributes a significant amount of GHG emissions globally. Emissions through energy and water use, transport, buildings, manufacture, supply and disposal of medical and pharmaceutical products, and waste (biomedical and solid waste) generation and disposal are major contributing factors in the health sector. However, accurately accounting for the contribution of health sector through their emissions to climate change has been a challenge. Furthermore, the carbon footprint of the health sector in developing nations is far less understood as data is currently limited. Most often the figures for developing countries are derived from the GHG emissions of the developed nations. Among developed economies, the health and social care carbon footprint of England was 27.1 Mega tonnes (Mt) CO2e representing about 6.3% of the carbon footprint. In the US, the health sector contributed an estimated total of 546 million MtCO2e of which 46% could be traceable to direct activities. The U.S. hospitals alone contributed to 39% of the total U.S. health sector GHG emissions of which 80% of total global warming potential was due to carbon dioxide emissions . If we consider the U.S. healthcare sector as a country, its GHG emission would rank thirteenth in the world ahead of the U.K. Similarly, Canada’s health sector generated 33 million tonnes of GHG emissions and over 200,000 tonnes of other pollutants directly through the healthcare facilities and from other supply-chains resulting in an estimated 23,000 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost annually. Compared to North America and U.K., the healthcare services in the European region are responsible for 5-15% of the carbon emissions. In the absence of sufficient data, the GHG emissions from health sector in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) can be extrapolated from the U.S. and European figures. It is assumed that emissions from health sector in LMICs contribute between 3-5% of the country’s total GHG contribution. Considering the accounted data, the carbon footprint of the health sector in LMICs are assumed less capital-intensive. Overall, there is a need to derive the accurate healthcare global contribution to climate change.
Estimating India’s healthcare GHG emissions is a challenge. First, the national-level energy consumption data is not available in the public domain. However, an estimate can be derived from various sources and studies. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency has estimated the energy needs of government hospitals in the urban and rural area consumed which is 750-1500 kWh and 150-300 kWh per bed per year respectively. In comparison, the private hospitals consumed 1000-2000 kWh per bed every year. Converting this to a GHG emission equivalent, on an average hospitals generate 1.3 to 2.7 MtCO2e per bed per year. This is equivalent to one hospital-bed generating GHG emission equivalent to consuming 132 to 264 gallons of diesel per year. Unfortunately, the contribution of GHG emissions from health sector doesn’t end with energy use.
Hospitals produce municipal, hazardous, and bio-medical solid waste and electronic waste. On an average the quantum of waste generated in district hospitals in India is 1.5 to 2.2 kg per bed per day. Most of this hospital-generated waste ends up in municipal landfills increasing the environmental burden. Recent studies reveal that only one-third of the actual waste generated was treated while the rest gets disposed as municipal waste. In 2016, India produced 519.7 tonnes of bio-medical waste per day which is estimated to reach 775.5 tonnes per day by 2022. When compared to global estimates, the quantity of bio-medical waste generated in India is much lower. One of the reasons could be insufficiency of the data on quantification of biomedical waste generated which has much bigger ecological impacts than GHG emissions.
Water plays an important role in day to day healthcare from cleaning to use and disposal in healthcare procedures to creating a soothing environment for patients and healthcare workers. An average Indian hospital consumes 450 litres per person per day. The main source is groundwater through deep bore wells. Not only drawing groundwater is energy intensive, but also the water consumption pattern increases the water stress on already diminishing groundwater levels in India. The availability of potable water is still unmet in many communities of LMICs including in India. The water stress could have negative impacts on health indicators while also contributing to GHG emissions through the energy-use. Efficient water use and disposal in the health sector is therefore critical. Holistically, health sector emissions stand at the crossroad of health and climate. Its impact is specific to climate, some to health, and sometimes both.
The one-day conclave was organized on 23rd March by Centre for Environmental Health, Public Health Foundation of India and Association of Healthcare Providers India. The theme of the Conclave centred around health impacts of climate change in India & appropriate risk mitigation & adaptation strategies. The consultation was endorsed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India and was supported by organisations including Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation etc.
The scientific agenda of the Consultation was set across four sub-themes in a panel session format to encourage multi-stakeholder deliberations on topics including:
- Climate Change in India – Impact on Health and Socio-Economic Outcomes;
- Air Pollution and Health – Current Scenario, Linkages and Co-Benefits of Addressing Air Pollution along with Climate Change;
- Role of the Health Sector in Climate Change – Climate Resilience and Contribution to GHG Emissions;
- Inter-sectoral Approach to Mitigation – Perspectives from policymakers, academics, providers and industry.
The consultation saw participation of over ~200 stakeholders from Academic organizations, Industry/Association, Research Organizations, Governmental Organizations, Hospitals, Knowledge partners etc. One of the key takeaways from the Consultation was the need for the health sector to take action towards a dual role of being “Climate-smart” and “Climate-resilient”. While adopting “greening” policies and climate-smart strategies for energy efficiency, sustainable practices in manufacture, procurement and supply chains of medical devices and pharmaceuticals, water, food, biomedical and solid waste management across health sector operations, the health sector also requires to become structurally and functionally resilient to face the impacts of acute climatic events . As “first responders’, the health sector capacity needs to be strengthened both in the form of robust infrastructure as well as to deal with greater burden of diseases resulting from the aftermath of floods, droughts , heatwaves , air pollution, vector-borne transmission and post-traumatic disorders besides malnutrition resulting from affected agricultural production impacting nutritional security and diversity. The consultation concluded by highlighting the critical need for an inter-sectoral approach that is imperative in setting the trajectory for impactful changes to address health impacts of climate change. A souvenir with a collection of articles from partner organisations was also released during the Consultation proceedings.
Kindly follow the link given below to read the proceedings for the scientific sessions and e-souvenir:- https://bit.ly/2D7YDd8
The consultation was followed by “LET US LIVE…”- a global symphonic experience of ‘World Music for Environmental Consciousness’ with the aim of raising awareness about harmful effects of climate change and health and the need to preserve & save our beautiful planet. The concert featured Grammy® Winner Ricky Kej-Music Maestro, UNESCO mgiep’s Ambassador, UNICEF Celebrity Supporter & United Nations Humanitarian Artist. The guest of Honour for the Concert was Mr. Jairam Ramesh- Former Minister for Environment and Forests. The artist launched “Soothing Music for Hospitals” during the Concert, the music album was further shared with Hospital representatives attending the Conclave. Please click here to download the album for free online.
CEOs and Administrative Representatives of ~30 hospitals participated in a Whitepaper Consultation- the third component of the Conclave. The Guest of Honour for the event was Dr. V. K. Paul- Member, NITI Aayog (Health and Nutrition) & Chairman-Board of Governors of Medical Council of India. The primary objective of the Whitepaper was to summarize available evidence on interlinkages between climate change, air pollution, associated health impacts, and the critical role of health sector as a contributor as well as a first responder to climate change.
We hope that the findings and momentum from the Conclave will shape efforts to strengthen the response of the Health sector to Climate Change in India.
GGHH Asia Conference 2019- Singapore
Health Care Without Harm -Asia, GGHH and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (Singapore) are pleased to host the 2019 GGHH Asian Conference.
“Towards sustainable, climate-resilient Asian healthcare”
October 8-10, 2019 in Singapore
GGHH 2018 Annual Report
The beginning of 2018 saw GGHH celebrating its biggest milestone in the history of the network: 1,000 institutional members. An important and inspiring moment for GGHH, it served as a broader indicator that sustainable health care is moving into the mainstream in all corners of the world. This accomplishment launched a year highlighted by expansion, evolution and exciting ambitions that are redefining what truly sustainable, climate-smart health care can be.
The 2018 Annual Report features the achievements of the network and members from around the world and showcases exciting programs and initiatives integrating with and mobilizing GGHH.
Click here to Download the GGHH 2018 Annual Report
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