Vertisa Environmental Technologies

Medical Waste and it’s potential hazards


Courtesy of Vertisa Environmental Technologies

A review of medical waste management systems was performed to understand (a) the various handling  and disposal procedures in different countries, ( b) the knowledge and awareness of individuals involved  in medical waste generation, handling and disposal, and (c) the potential impacts of the waste stream on  both human health and the natural environment. The purpose of the study is to provide direction for  further study. Information was collected mainly from literature review and online search. It was found  that a variety of methods were used by the medical facilities to dispose their wastes including burning,  burial, entombing, selling, dumping, and removal by municipal bins. The waste disposal practice was found to be quite unsafe, and both clinical and non-clinical wastes were found to be thrown together.  There was insufficient awareness of the magnitude of the medical wastes issue by concerned individuals  at different levels from director or divisional head to waste pickers. Laboratory analysis showed severe  contamination of infectious wastes to the environment. Children, adults, and animals all have the  potential to come into contact with these wastes which may pose severe health risks to them. There  was no safety measure observed in dealing with waste disposal or laboratory analysis of infectious or  hazardous diseases. The chemicals used for the staining and preservation of slides and for the sterilization  and cleaning of equipment and surroundings are potentially harmful to the laboratory technician and the  environment. 

Hospital wastes pose a significant impact on health and environment. From this common sense it can be  said that there is an urgent need for raising awareness and education on medical waste issues. Proper waste  management strategy is needed to ensure health and environmental safety. For further study, it is needed  to collect more information on impacts, disposal and management to draw a clear conclusion. Need to  collect information and examples from developed country or the country, which has sound medical waste  management system. Find alternatives and appropriate technologies for developing countries. Need  extensive study on this medical waste and its management aspects as well. 

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