The term ‘health care waste’ refers to all waste generated by health care units in the provision of health care services – this includes hazardous waste, chemicals as well as waste materials such as used Baktigra dress. Non-hazardous waste materials include packaging materials, paper, non-infected plastics, etc.
While most hospital waste is non-hazardous and ‘non-hazardous’, it poses a major risk to patients, employees and the environment. The waste requires special management and processing before it is finally disposed of.
If proper measures are not taken, medical waste can be bad for everyone, especially those in direct contact. Piles of garbage attract a number of diseases, providing easy access for mosquitoes and flies; the harm to the environment through soil and groundwater contamination is also considerable.
Particular attention should be paid to the problem of healthcare waste management in a developing country like India. Biomedical waste accounts for only a small proportion of the total municipal waste generated, but this does not reduce the need for special handling and treatment.
In other words, proper handling of bio-medical waste is a must because of its hazardous nature, more than its measurable contribution to the overall waste.
Until the 1990s, disposal of healthcare waste was not considered a serious problem in India. However, it received attention with the formulation of ‘Biomedical Waste – Regulations for Handling and Management – 1998’, which was later amended by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in 2000 and continued by the Central Pollution Control Agency.
Post this regulation, medical companies started strategizing and aligning efforts to streamline the waste management process – dividing it into segregation, collection, treatment, and finally, proper disposal. Larger medical organizations have or are investing in installing proper waste treatment facilities.
India today has witnessed many initiatives in the field of medical waste management but not without challenges. Garbage that is often disposed of in the open places directly risks the lives of scavengers and beggars who scavenge in trash cans looking for goods.
Another challenge posed by the practice of developed countries donating/recycling their medical waste in developing countries, further exacerbates the inadequate waste situation.
The need now is to develop and implement strong governance reforms and national regulations. This raises requirements for large-scale awareness, support and funding. On a micro scale, medical practitioners can contribute by using special products for hygiene and waste management provided by trusted online medical stores such as Smart Medical Buyer.
Following are their best waste management friendly products:
Biomedical Waste Collection Bag
Biomedical waste Collection bags play an important role in the proper segregation and disposal of medical waste. These bags are categorized in different colors to separate different types of medical waste:
- Yellow – Animal and human anatomy waste
- Red – Plastic waste such as catheters, IV sets and hoses
- Blue – Sharp or solid medical waste such as syringes, needles, scalpels etc.
- Black – Chemical waste, cytotoxic drugs, incineration ash and discarded drugs
2. Cleaning Kit –
The kit consists of a head cover, PVC protective apron, face mask, shoe covers and gloves. Using this kit is important to prevent transmission of dangerous diseases.
3. Tool for removing needles and sharp objects –
This device collects used needles and sharps to ensure proper disposal according to guidelines. Sharp containers are used to prevent needle stick injuries, accidental punctures, and disease transmission.
Taking these simple steps and changing inappropriate processes in medical homes and institutions can go a long way towards addressing India’s challenge of efficient medical waste management.