Not only does the industrial sector produce a large fraction of waste, seldom do we recognize that hospitals all around the world produce 5 million tons of waste each year. Therefore, it is imperative to erase the biomedical waste precautionary and comprehend its solutions as the 10th of the waste is infectious and has the property to spread diseases as viruses.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines Medical waste as “healthcare waste that may be contaminated by blood, body fluids or other potentially infectious materials and is often referred to as regulated medical waste.” Many agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Transport (DOT) have more so the same description and narrative of what they consider medical waste to be, the layout guidelines for the safe disposal of such waste, spreading awareness about how the waste can cause hazardous ailments. The main two types of medical wastes are
1. Red bag
It includes -d
* Blood soaked items
* Soft plastic items
* Specimen cups
* Gloves, gowns, intravenous bags
According to OSHA, it is a must for the items mentioned above to be packed properly to prevent leakage and proper destruction. An autoclave is used to destroy such infectious biohazardous
The oven is heated up to 300 degrees, and the waste is set to fire in it.
* Hypodermic needles, syringes
* Tattoo needles
* Disposable scalpels and blades
* Microscope slides
* Certain medical tubes
EPA quotes, “discarded needles may expose waste workers to potential needle stick injuries, and potential infection when containers break open inside garbage trucks or needles are mistakenly sent to recycling facilities. Janitors and housekeepers also risk injury if loose sharps poke through plastic garbage bags. In addition, used needles can transmit serious diseases, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis.”
Given below are some of the diseases that are caused by improper disposal of medical waste.
Medical waste contains bodily fluids, which can cause inflammation of the cell membrane of the brain and spinal code to the person who accidentally is exposed to medical waste.
When sharps and other medical apparatus are improperly disposed of, the pathogens can spread from the bloodstreams to all the body organs, causing bacteremia.
- Skin infections
Skin is the organ that is the most exposed to the outer environment. When it comes in contact with the pathogens of medical waste, the skin can be easily infected, given that most people have sensitive skin types.
After identifying the medical wastes and knowing how harmful they can be to the health of beings on this planet, let us check out some methods and solutions for medical waste disposal.
The first step is the segregation of medical waste. According to WHO, it is the responsibility of the hospital employees to segregate the medical waste at the time of generation for the effective waste disposal solution.
The waste is then shredded to eliminate the recycling of the needles and make them useless and prevent contamination.
After this, the waste is treated with any of the methods mentioned below to destroy them completely.
- Incineration: converting the waste into ash, gas, and heat. It reduced 20-40% of the original waste volume.
- Chemical disinfection: chlorine compounds, sodium hypochlorite, ozone, and other chemical compounds are used to kill the microorganisms of biomedical waste.
- Wet (autoclaving) and dry thermal treatment: waste is exposed to high steam and temperature to kill the hazardous elements in the waste.
- Microwave irradiation: this method is exclusive to the waste having water. The microwave method is the most eco-friendly method to dispose of biomedical debris.
Proper care of biomedical waste is imperative to prevent multi-hazardous disorders, and management should be careful when disposing of the waste by wearing proper gloves and gowns to prevent exposure. The health industry is an integral sector, and every day, one bed produces 0.5 kg of biowaste. This waste needs to be collected and eradicated far away from the human and animal kingdom.