Laboratory Waste Management at Prince of Songkla University, Thailand
Environmental problems resulting from the production of hazardous waste have come under increasing attention. Universities contribute to the generation of hazardous waste as a result of everyday activities and the production of laboratory waste from educational and research activities. Laboratories at universities are generally recognized to generate small quantities of waste, but their wastes usually contain toxic substances that are very difficult to treat. In an attempt to decrease the environmental impact of laboratories at Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Thailand, a study on hazardous waste from laboratories was carried out. Forty-seven laboratories in eight faculties at PSU were investigated during the 1998-1999 academic year. The study aimed to carry out a survey and prepare an inventory in order to determine the nature and extent of pollution caused by laboratories at the university. Waste generation rates and hazardous characteristics of laboratory wastes were examined. Waste management practices in laboratories were investigated. A pilot project on laboratory waste separation, storage and collection was initiated and carried out on a voluntary basis by laboratories in the university. This paper describes experience from the study and presents obstacles identified as a result of the study and recommendations to improve laboratory waste management.