Groote Schuur Hospital goes green

Zandalee Brown, Matthew de Kock and Fairoza Mohamed from Groote Schuur Hospitals pharmacy.

Groote Schuur Hospital recently held an environmental fair to help the hospital reduce its carbon footprint.

Staff, students and members of the public took part in the fair at the hospital’s Klein Schuur venue on Friday September 7.

It was all about encouraging healthy and sustainable lifestyles and promoting green initiatives at Groote Schuur, which is a member of the Global Green and Healthy Hospital Network (GGHH1).

The fair included guest speakers, Hayley McLellan, an environmental campaigner of the Rethink the Bag campaign at the Two Oceans Aquarium, who spoke about the impact of plastic pollution on the ocean; Thorpe Koorts, who spoke about what “green” hospitals were doing to minimise their environmental footprint; and Dr Laura Angeletti-du Toit, who spoke about green and sustainable health facilities and how to create them.

The fair also featured exhibitors who were working to promote a world free of single-use plastic, such as drinking straws, plastic bags, balloons and plastic packaging.

“These items are usually discarded very quickly into the environment, where they remain for a very long time and may ultimately enter our food chain. Apart from that, plastic acts as an endocrine disruptor and affects our health,” said the event organiser, Dr Edda Weimann.

Matthew de Kock, from the hospital’s pharmacy, said they had started reducing medical waste.

Sister Sophia Davids, from the hospital’s maternity ward, said they promoted breast-feeding as it was the most natural eco choice as it went straight from the producer to the consumer.

“When you think about breast-feeding you may wonder how it ties in with being more environmentally conscious, but if you consider the tins used to store the formula, the trucks which transport the formula and the waste it creates afterwards, you will see how breast-feeding is not only good for your baby but the environment as well,” she said.

Dr Weimann said they wanted to bring awareness not only to their staff but the patients as well.

She said a lot of work was being done in isolation and they wanted to bring all the roleplayers together.

“Every journey and every goal begins with one step, the first one. I am optimistic that we pursued this goal with the environmental fair,” she said.