Archives of Medicine and Health Sciences

SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year
: 2015  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 165--167

Fostering community and environment friendly disposal of biomedical wastes


Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy 
 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India

Abstract

Health care waste is the waste generated from any health care activities in health care organizations, research institutes or laboratories. Almost, three-fourth of the health care wastes is nonhazardous, while the remaining fraction is hazardous, and is referred as biomedical waste (BMW). Inappropriate management of BMW is associated with significant potential risks to the health care workers, patients, communities, their future generations and their environment. To ensure the correct disposal of the generated BMW, they have been categorized in different classes and appropriate methods of disposal have been specified to prevent a health hazard to the health care providers and the general community. In addition, to render the BMW produced from a health care setting implementation of multiple measures have been proposed to reduce the menace of public health concerns. To conclude, to mitigate the magnitude of the health concerns emerging secondary to the improper disposal of BMW, development of a comprehensive waste management policy, in addition to establishing training programs for all healthcare workers is the need of the hour.



How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Fostering community and environment friendly disposal of biomedical wastes.Arch Med Health Sci 2015;3:165-167


How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Fostering community and environment friendly disposal of biomedical wastes. Arch Med Health Sci [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 Apr 1 ];3:165-167
Available from: http://www.amhsjournal.org/text.asp?2015/3/1/165/154975


Full Text

 Introduction



Health care waste is the waste generated from any health care activities in health care organizations, research institutes or laboratories. [1] Almost, three-fourth of the health care wastes is nonhazardous, while the remaining fraction is hazardous, and is referred as biomedical waste (BMW). [1] BMW is defined as any solid or liquid waste, which is generated during the diagnosis, management, immunization or research activity encompassing human or animals, or in the manufacture or trial of biological and the animal waste from slaughter houses or any other similar institutions. [2]

 Biomedical Waste: Health Hazards and the Contributing Potential Factors



The amount of BMW generated in a hospital is determined by the type of hospital (viz. government or private), the health problems encountered, the nature of patient care provided, existence and/or implementation of waste management policy. [1],[3] Inappropriate management of BMW is associated with significant potential risks (such as mechanical injuries from sharp waste material; infections from handling contaminated health care wastes such as HIV, etc.; chemical injury associated with hazardous chemicals/drugs; and change in microbial ecology and spread of antibiotic resistance) to the healthcare workers, patients, communities, their future generations (viz. genotoxic or radioactive wastes) and their environment. [1],[2],[4] Different studies have concluded that proper management of BMW deserves significant public health importance for safeguarding human health, preserving the environment, and in delaying adverse global climate changes. [5],[6] Multiple factors such as poor awareness about appropriate management of BMW among the health professionals including paramedical workers; irresponsible behavior of the hospital administrators; absence of written policies and protocols for executing the disposal of waste; incorrect implementation of waste policy; untrained health workers involved in the process of generation/handling of BMW; incompetent monitoring and surveillance mechanisms; have played a significant role in aggravation of the problem and the sequelae. [3],[4],[7],[8]

 Need of Waste Categorization and Ascertaining a Nodal Officer



To ensure the correct disposal of the generated BMW, they have been categorized in different classes and appropriate methods of disposal have been specified to prevent a health hazard to the health care providers and the general community. [1],[2] Furthermore, availability of safe and reliable supply of water, sanitation facilities, maintenance of cleanliness and demarcation of vital areas is the prerequisite criteria to develop a comprehensive waste management plan. [2],[3] In addition, creation of a hospital wastes management committee (especially in large hospitals consisting of head of hospital, heads of certain departments, chief of nursing staff and representatives from ancillary and support services) or identification of a nodal officer (especially in small hospitals) is of prime substance. [1] Subsequently, each of the members should be trained and retrained on issues related to hospital wastes, their role and functions should be clearly defined, and periodic meetings could be held to ascertain the progress of implementation of policy/remodeling of policy. [9]

 Elements of a Waste Management Policy



Before formulating a policy, it is essential to perform a survey to determine the quantity, type and source of waste generation inside the premises. [2] The survey will aid in the disposal of all categories of waste safely with least harm to the environment and also help in identifying the crucial areas in which health workers deserve specific training. [2],[9] The subsequent step is the collection and segregation of the hospital waste so that the nonhazardous waste is disposed of with municipal garbage, while the hazardous waste can be collected in proper containers with the aid of a color coding system. [1],[3] Next domain concerns with the storage of waste, which is of crucial importance if the generated BMW cannot be disposed of immediately. [2] Exclusive sets of guidelines should be developed to characterize the storage containers (viz. type of material, size, color coding, and marking of the biohazard symbol) and the storage area (viz. earmarking of the site, warning signs, accessibility to only authorized persons, and proper drainage system). [2] Transportation of waste is the vital link between the site of waste generation and the final disposal point and thus hospital authorities should keep proper documentation of the type of vehicle used and frequency of waste transportation. [2] Eventually, BMW is treated using appropriate technology depending on the type of waste before the final disposal to reduce its bulk and make it free from pathogenic organisms to render the waste nonhazardous to health and the environment. [1],[3]

 Recommended Measures



In addition, to render the BMW produced from a health care setting employment of measures like developing a tailor-made BMW management policy; [2],[4] ensuring training of the health care workers; [9] advocating universal safety precautions like hand washing; promoting proper house-keeping activities to maintain cleanliness and adequate ventilation in the hospital premises; [1],[2] rationalizing use of disinfectants; [2] creating awareness among all cadres of health professionals about the need and significance of appropriate management of BMWs; [7],[8] involving medical students; [10] monitoring seasonal variation in type of BMW generated; [11] necessitating strict enforcement of legal provisions; [12] and adopting newer and cost-effective techniques; [13] have been proposed to reduce the menace of public health concerns.

 Conclusion



To conclude, to mitigate the magnitude of the health concerns emerging secondary to the improper disposal of BMW, development of a comprehensive waste management policy, in addition to establishing training programs for all health care workers is the need of the hour.

References

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