Resolving The Challenges in Health Care Waste Management

Resolving The Challenges in Health Care Waste Management

The term ‘health care waste’ refers to all waste created by health care units in the provision of health care services – this includes hazardous wastes, chemicals as well as waste materials like used Bactigras dressing. Non-hazardous waste material includes packaging material, paper, non-infected plastic etc.

Even though most of hospital waste is non-hazardous and ‘harmless’, it poses a grave risk to patients, employees, and the environment. Such waste requires specific management and treatment before it is finally disposed off.

If proper measures are not taken, medical waste can adversely affect all, especially those coming in direct contact. Waste piles attract a number of diseases, giving easy access to mosquitos and flies; the hazard to the environment via contamination of soil and underground water is also rather large.  

Special attention must be given to the problem of health care waste management in developing countries such as India. Biomedical waste contributes only a small portion to the total municipal waste generated but this does not discount the need for special handling and treatment.

In other words, handling bio-medical waste in the right manner is a necessity due to its hazardous nature, more than its quantifiable contribution to overall waste.

Until the 1990s, the disposal of healthcare waste was not considered a serious issue in India. Nevertheless, it was given due attention with the formulation of ‘Bio-medical Waste – Handling and Management Rules – 1998’, later amended by MoEF in 2000 and taken ahead by the Central Pollution Control Board.

Post this regulation, medical establishments started strategizing and aligning efforts to streamline the process of waste management – dividing it into segregation, collection, treatment and finally, proper disposal. Larger medical organizations have either invested or are investing in installation of proper waste treatment facilities.

India today has witnessed a considerable number of initiatives in the field of medical waste management but not without challenges. Waste is more often than not dumped in open areas, directly risking lives of rag pickers and beggars who search through the trash looking for goods.

Another challenge is posed by the practice of developed countries donating/ recycling their medical scraps in developing countries, further deteriorating the latter’s inadequate waste situation.

The need of the hour is to develop and bring about robust governmental reforms and national regulations. This poses the requirement for large-scale awareness, support and funding. On a micro scale, medical practitioners can contribute by using special products for cleaning and waste management, provided by reliable online medical stores such as Smart Medical Buyer.

Here’s a look at their top waste management friendly products:

  1. Biomedical Waste Collection Bags

Biomedical waste collection bags play a critical role in proper segregation and disposal of medical waste. These bags are categorized in multiple colours to segregate between different types of medical wastes: 

  • Yellow – Animal and human anatomical waste 
  • Red – Plastic waste like catheters, IV sets and tubing
  • Blue – Sharp or solid medical waste like syringes, needles, scalpels etc. 
  • Black – Chemical wastes, cytotoxic drugs, incineration ash and discarded medicines

2. Cleaning Kit –

These kits consist of head caps, protective PVC aprons, facemasks, shoe covers and hand gloves. Using this kit is important to prevent the transmission of hazardous diseases.

3. Needles and Sharps Disposal Devices –

These devices collect used needles and sharps to ensure proper disposal as per guidelines. Sharp containers are used to prevent needle stick injuries, accidental puncturing and transmission of diseases.

Taking these simple steps and altering improper processes at home and medical establishments can go a long way in overcoming India’s challenges to efficient medical waste management.

Anjali Dixit

Anjali Dixit

Fashion Blogger at FashionGoodTimes
She is a passionate blogger, She enjoy her work and believe there is always a lot to discover in the world of internet. A foodie and love reading books. in her free time, she like to dive into various activities such as discovering something new, travelling to new places and hanging out with her friends.
Anjali Dixit

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