Biomedical wastes are wastes which are generally generated in hospitals and health care units. Such wastes consist of solids, liquids, laboratory wastes and sharp instruments which have great potential to cause infections if discarded without proper care. To protect the interests of general public, such biomedical wastes must be disposed off properly. Again, healthcare and sanitization workers are exposed to such wastes on a regular basis and for such people proper disposal and minimal handling of such wastes is a must to protect their health and hygiene.
Biomedical wastes are so called to differentiate them from household or industrial wastes. Such wastes originate from biological sources and come by in the process of diagnosis, prevention or treatment of diseases in hospitals and other health care units. Biomedical wastes usually occur in clinics, nursing homes, laboratories, home health care, veterinarian clinics and other similar places.
There are various categories of biomedical wastes. Under the sub category of solid wastes, there comes in catheters, tubes, disposable gowns, masks, scrubs, surgical staples, sutures, wound dressings. In the liquid forms of biomedical wastes, body fluids, tissues, cells, organs, tissue cultures are common forms of biomedical wastes. Sharps such as blades, razors, scalpel, lancets, cuvettes, slides, needles and syringes also form part of biomedical wastes. Radioactive materials, different types of pharmacological concoctions and medicines can also be categorized as biomedical wastes.
Biomedical waste management is usually laid down as a process in hospitals and clinics. Such wastes are to be segregated from ordinary household wastes in hospitals as well as in homes of people. Such wastes are usually placed in specially labeled bags and containers and collected separately for separate disposal. When such wastes occur in homes, disposing wastes such as syringes, wound dressing, disposable gloves and other items should not be done along with other household wastes. These put the waste collectors at risk from injury or infection. In some countries many private players have mail in disposal or collection programs whereby biomedical wastes are specifically carried away from homes and clinics. All countries need to have regulations regarding disposal of such wastes since they pose risks to the environment and to health of humans by contaminating the air, water and soil of our surrounding environment. Soiled clothes or other items of bedding or materials which come in contact with biomedical wastes should be discarded or washed with disinfectants such as bleach to remove any possibility of contamination.
In such ways, biomedical wastes should be managed and those who come in contact should protect themselves accordingly.