Disposal of Medical Waste

On October 2, 2011, in Medical Waste, by Jitendra

Disposal of medical waste is a matter of concern in all countries nowadays. Medical wastes are wastes which are generated while diagnosing or treating patients in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, veterinary hospitals, and so forth. Before the new millennium, such wastes were discarded as municipal wastes in ordinary landfill areas. Today, the toxicity of most of the medical wastes are recognized and care is taken to dispose of them separately.

Medical wastes can be of various categories. From pathological wastes consisting of different human body parts which may be removed and discarded during surgeries, to animal wastes from labs, chemical wastes from the various types of chemical substances used in treatments or X rays and so forth, bio medical wastes can vary greatly and each category poses a different threat to the waste handlers or to the public at large.

Disposal of Medical Waste Hence, in different countries different types of legislations have taken effect to ensure that health care units take special care to dispose of their wastes and waste management. In India, there is an Act passed known as the Bio Medical Waste(Management & Handling) Rules of 1998 which now empowers the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to authorize the different health care units across the country to have either their own facilities to dispose of their medical wastes or take on the services of private companies who would then be responsible to pick up the medical wastes of such units and build the right facilities to dispose of the same.

There are schedules in this Act which list down the different forms of medical wastes and how each category of wastes should be disposed of. The first and second category consist of human anatomical wastes and animal wastes which need to be disposed of by incineration method or deep burial. Incinerators are chambers within which extremely high temperatures are generated and the wastes are then reduced to ash and other forms of dioxins in the high heat and fire.

Wastes from microbiology or biotechnology which may be generated from lab cultures, stocks of micro organisms and so forth are to be discarded by either auto claving or micro waving or incineration. Auto claving is a process whereby high heat and pressure and even steam is applied to disinfect medical equipments from pathogens so that they can be used again.

The next category of wastes is sharps which are to be disinfected by chemical treatment, auto claving, microwaving or shredding and then can be disposed of in landfill areas. Discarded medicines are to be incinerated or destroyed or can be moved to secured landfill areas; soiled wastes, both liquid or solids, are to be treated chemically to disinfect them before moving them to municipal landfill areas.

Comments are closed.