In India until recently not much attention was given to the disposal of hospital waste, which contains hazardous waste, which contains hazardous waste materials from various sources (eg: used syringes and needles, pus and blood soaked cotton etc.). Usually the waste is disposed in the community bin along with domestic waste creating environmental pollution. Incineration and land filling are the most widely used technique for disposal hospital waste. Though these methods have several inherent advantages, indiscriminate and improper application of these methods may lead to considerable harm to the society. All these factors receives our immediate attention to the safe management of hospital waste. Irrespective of the type of hospital or its size, it is essential to have a proper waste management system which should be effective enough management system which should be effective enough to rectify the problems in the handling and disposal of wasters. This could be done by properly studying the hospital, its waste generation characteristics etc. A properly designed system should have along with appropriate methods of collection, transportation and disposal of wastes, awareness creation programmes for its staff and an organizational structure of the waste management committees and/or teams. The system designed for the two hospitals, namely the Sree Avittom Tirunal Hospital and Medical College Hospital has been done through proper study and so has almost all the components of a good waste management system. The key to the proper management of hospital waste lies not in most modern technologies, but in the application of appropriate and systematic waste management practices.
Hospital Waste Management: Why and How
What is waste?
► Waste is any item or thing for which the immediate owner can find no particular use.
► Any item or thing for which the management of a hospital, clinic or any other type of Health Care Setting can find no particular use is called Hospital Waste or Health Care Waste.
Bio Medical Waste
It is defined as any waste, which is generated during the diagnosis, treatment or immunisation of human beings or animals or in research activities pertaining thereto or in the production or testing of biologicals.
Types of waste
Waste from Health Care Settings can be :
► solid or liquid
► infected waste (Hazardous)
► non-contaminated waste( Non Hazardous)
Why do we need a system?
► Segregation and containment of waste
► Collection and transportation of waste
► Selecting and adopting the final disposal options.
Why manage it?
Objectives of any Waste Management system are:
► Reduce the infectious/ hazardous nature of the waste
► Reduce the volume of the waste
► Prevent misuse and abuse of the waste
► Ensure occupational safety and health
► Aesthetic considerations
Unmanaged waste: the dangers
► The organic portion of solid waste ferments and attracts fly breeding. Garbage in the refuse attracts rats.
► Pathogens may be conveyed to man by flies and dust. Infected waste has the potential to transmit communicable diseases.
► There is a possibility of soil and water pollution when rainwater passes through deposits of fermenting refuse.
► There is risk of air pollution if there is accidental or spontaneous combustion of refuse.
► There is scope for (improper) re-use of syringes, needles, polythene bags, catheters and other rubber tubes, bottles, etc
► Piles of refuse are offensive from an aesthetic point of view.
► Hepatitis A, B and C
► Cholera, Typhoid, Dysentry
► Staphylococcal infections
► Candida infections
► Streptococcal infections
► It is estimated that about 10 to 15 % of the waste generated from a Health Care Setting is “Infected Waste.”
► The other 85 to 90 % is non infected.
► Non-contaminated or non-infected waste becomes infected when it gets mixed with infected waste.
► Final disposal