Hospital waste management is of prime concern not only for hospital authorities but also for the society at large. Hospitals in the course of issuing different forms of treatments and research functions, generate various forms of wastes and the disposal of waste of such processes needs specialized handling.
The first category of hospital wastes consist of infectious wastes. These are wastes which come from infected wards or from patients infected with drug resistant pathogens like bacteria., fungi, viruses and other forms of microbes. Infectious wastes are also formed from cultures of human fluids, human blood, residue samples, plasters, bandages, dressings, discarded bio products such as blood serum, medical instruments such as injections, syringes, blood vessel catheters and so forth. Patients suffering from AIDS, hepatitis, cholera, dysentery, tuberculosis, diphtheria, rabies and similar infectious diseases also are sources of infectious wastes in hospitals.
The second category of hospital wastes is pathological wastes. These are usually comprised of different types of human tissues, organs, placenta, embryo, dead lab animals, body parts, stored blood and similar items. Pathological wastes are ideally disposed of by cremation or burying. Incineration is a good way of ensuring that the toxic elements in such wastes do not get out into the external environment.
There are normal household wastes which are also generated in the course of various administrative and housekeeping activities in hospitals. Such wastes are usually generated in hospital dormitories, hospital construction waste materials, kitchen, administration, garden and other technical departments. Such wastes are usually disposed off as solid wastes to landfill areas.
Another category of wastes in hospitals is radioactive wastes. These consist of isotope testing, regents, mixtures and medicines made of radioactive materials. Such wastes are usually generated in the course of carcinogenic diseases and also from patients suffering from such diseases. Their vomits, faeces and other bodily fluids excreted may contain similar radioactive substances. Such wastes are usually collected separately and treated in interim storage facilities with lead walls.
Chemical wastes are often generated as a result of the various types of solvents used in X-ray departments, in labs, in dental depts. and others. Cytotoxic wastes are generated in the course of chemotherapy medications used and disposable syringes and injectors again form a different class of wastes known as sharps.
These are thus the various classifications of hospital wastes and each category warrants a different disposal of waste method.