Medical waste is a special type of waste that is generated in small quantities carrying a high potential of virus, disease, infection or any other contamination.
Insufficient and improper disposal of medical waste can cause serious public health ramifications which will be certainly perilous for our environment. It is also called hospital waste and is one of the critical challenge faced by healthcare providers.
This type of waste is generated by healthcare facilities like hospitals, medical research facilities, and dental practices. The 1998 Medical Waste Tracking Act defines it as a waste generated during diagnosis, immunization or treatment of human beings or animals.
Medical Wastes Types:
1, Infectious waste: It includes waste from surgery and autopsies, waste from infected patients, waste from infected hemodialysis patients etc.
2, Pathological waste: This waste includes tissues, organs, body parts, blood and body fluids.
3, Sharps: It includes needles, syringes, surgical blades, broken glass, knives and infusion sets.
4, Pharmaceutical waste: It consists of expired pharmaceutical products, surplus drugs and contaminated products.
5, Gene toxic waste: This waste contains cytotoxic drugs and contaminated material from the preparation and administration of the drugs.
Medical waste management:
1, When possible, use reusable products in place of single use products. Also, review the state regulations and the product manufacturer instructions to see if products can be used more than once.
2, Use small medical waste containers in patient room, because large containers make it easy for patients and staff to use them as regular trash bin.
3, Place signs throughout the facility that describe the type of waste that can be put into each container.
4, Conduct waste audits to see if medical waste is being disposed of correctly and that your plan is being followed.
5, Develop formal waste management plan.
The writer is environmental management student/ researcher and dynamic author.