Medical Waste Disposal: Importance and Hazardous Affects

Hospitals are being known for treatment of sick persons but we don’t often think about the adverse effects of medical wastes generated by them on environment and human body.  Now it is a known fact that hospital wastes are potential health hazard to public health and eco system over there. Improper disposal of medical wastes and exposure to those is a very serious threat.

It often cause environmental pollution, unpleasant odour, growth and multiplication of vectors like mosquitoes, worms etc that may lead to transmission of epidemics and infections like tetanus, hepatitis and AIDS from contaminated needles and syringes. Hence, proper management of wastes and its disposal are mandatory and it turned worldwide humanitarian topic today.

Medical wastes refer to all biological or non-biological wastes discarded during diagnosis, treatment or immunization of humans and animals.

The main sources of biomedical wastes are hospitals, animal houses, nursing homes, clinics, medical laboratories, mortuaries, blood banks, biotechnology institutions and medical research and training centers. Bio medical wastes can simply classify into bio- degradable and non bio-degradable and they can be either hazardous or non-hazardous.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified bio medical wastes into eight categories. They are general waste, pathological, radioactive, chemical, and infectious to potentially infectious wastes, sharp instruments, pharmaceuticals and pressurized containers.

According to the categories method of medical waste disposal also varies. It is the prime responsibility of health administrators to manage medical waste in most scientific, cost effective, safe and Eco-friendly manner.

Bio medical waste management

The biomedical waste management includes four main processes. They are waste collection, segregation, transportation & storage and treatment &disposal. Medical wastes should be collected in containers of leakage proof and strong enough to prevent breakage during handling. It has to be stored until transported for disposal.

Workers should be very precautious while collecting and transporting wastes. They have to adopt all safety measures such as wearing protective hand gears, eye glasses, mask, apron, gloves and boots as barriers for being infected. Workers should be compulsorily vaccinated against tetanus and hepatitis B. Adequate training should be given before they enters to this occupation.

Treatment and disposal

The goal of treatment is to reduce or eliminate hazardous waste and make them unrecognizable before its disposal. The most common used method is incineration.

Incineration

This is high temperature thermal process where it combusts the waste and convert them into inert material and gases. Electricity or fuels are used to work incinerators. Multiple hearth type, rotary kiln and controlled air types are often used incinerators in hospital. All types have primary and secondary combustion chambers to ensure maximum combustion.An efficient incinerator destroys pathogens and sharp instruments and turn them non recognizable in resulting ash.

Thermal inactivation

It involves treatment of waste using very high temperatures to eliminate infectious agents.  The pathogen killed treatment product is then disposed under traditional land filling method or discharged into a sanitary sewer.

Auto claving

An autoclave uses steam and pressure at high temperatures which penetrates waste materials that reduces micro organisms load and prepares wastes to dispose safely. Gravity type, pre-vacuum type and retort type are three commonly used auto claving methods. Autoclave is recommended for microbiology and biotechnology waste, sharps, soiled and solid wastes

Microwave irradiation

This technique works in the principle of generating high frequency waves. This cause particle within the waste material vibrates and thus produces heat. This heat kills all pathogens. Cytotoxic wastes, radioactive wastes, contaminated animal carcasses or body parts and large metal items should be avoided for microwaving.

Chemical methods

Those wastes which are unfit for auto claving especially rubber and plastic wastes are treated under chemical bleach. Sodium hydroxide and other chemical disinfectant solutions are used here. For autoclaves, microwaves and chemical methods a shredder is used as final treatment to render the waste unrecognizable. After these treatments they can be safely land filled.

Plasma pyrolysis

It is an advanced method and stated as art technology of safe disposal. It is completely an eco- friend technology that converts organic waste into commercially useful products. Intense heat generated by plasma enables to dispose municipal and bio medical hazardous solid wastes in safe and reliable manner. The solid wastes are pyrolysed into hydrocarbons when it comes in contact with plasma-arc. These hydrocarbons are highly used commercial product as fuels.

Benefits of biomedical waste management

Bio medical waste management is most important as it reduces the risk of pollution and provides cleaner and healthier surroundings. Thus it prevents the spreading of infections that result in lower incidence of community and occupational health hazards.

If you don’t have the provision to manage medical wastes at your hospital, it is better to approach help from services provided in biomedical waste solutions.  Professionals work in the most reliable and cost effective manner.

Services include hospital biomedical waste disposal, dialysis waste disposal management, physicians waste services, laboratory waste disposal, pharmaceutical waste disposal & expired drug destruction, nursing homes waste disposal management and dental waste disposal management. They works daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly or anytime as per the schedule you have chosen.

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