BIO- MEDICAL WASTE

It has been rightly quoted by David Brower, “We don’t inherit the earth from our Ancestors, but we borrow it from our children”. It is a universal truth that we don’t inherit the Earth but we merely hold it in trust for our coming generations. Due to this reason, we must only make a reasonable use of the natural resources taking into consideration the needs of the future. Just like natural resources, there in an exigent need for the preservation of Environment by taking all necessary precautions.

Healthcare is certainly a vital feature of human presence. Nonetheless, waste happens to be generated by the very functioning of healthcare institutions and this needs to be managed efficiently. Moreover, discharge of waste, its improper treatment and its unhygienic disposal has resulted in a serious problem for both biotic and abiotic components of the environment.

Waste is usually defined as ‘something, which is not put into proper use at a given time’.

It is further classified by way of various schemes like physical state, material, physical properties, origin, safety level etc.

In India, however, waste is generally classified into two categories i.e. municipal solid waste and hazardous waste. In this context, the project majorly focuses upon the hazardous type of waste, widely known as biomedical waste. It has lately emerged as an issue of major concern not only to health care establishments, nursing homes, governments, individuals but also to the environment. The researchers intend to study in great detail the legal control of biomedical waste management in the existing healthcare scenario in India, United States and United Kingdom. The international standards and laws relating to biomedical waste management have also been discussed in this project. This project at the same time intends to create awareness among the concerned people, especially the ones working in health care units.

There have been remarkable technological advancements in the health care system over the past few decades. However, it is quite ironic that these advancements, which are meant to restore community health in turn, happen to affect their well-being by discharge of waste. Such poor waste management methods pose a great risk to public’s health at large and thereby contribute to environmental degradation.

DEFINITION

As per Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998 of India, Biomedical waste is defined as “any waste which is generated during the diagnosis, treatment or immunization of human beings or animals or in research activities pertaining thereto or in the production or testing of biologicals”.

SOURCES OF BIO- MEDICAL WASTE

The sources of such waste can be categorised into two i.e. primary sources and secondary sources. The primary sources of biomedical waste include hospitals, nursing homes, laboratories, clinics, offices of dentists, physicians and veterinarians, dispensaries and medical transporters. The secondary sources, on the other hand, include households, industries, research institutions, education institutions and other storage and treatment facilities of biological entities. These sources are nothing but the common producers or generators of biomedical waste. Bio medical waste are hazardous due to two main reasons, one being infectivity and other being toxicity.

Bio-Medical waste also referred as health-care waste is categorized as hazardous waste. They are hazardous in nature because of the contents of such waste that varies from chemicals, solutions, microbes, needles, blades, pathological wastes such as anatomical body parts, other items contaminated with body fluid or blood, infectious microbes to radioactive substances etc.

CONSEQUENCES OF MISMANAGEMENT

The standard factor for categorizing biomedical waste in various criteria is the risk involved in handling and disposing off such waste. Such waste, if left unregulated and unmanaged, has the tendency to be hazardous to human health specifically sanitation and healthcare workers who are constantly exposed to biomedical waste as an occupational hazard. The consequences of mismanagement of biomedical waste are treacherous, such as ; a) Transfer of HIV, hepatitis B or other blood borne diseases. b) Emissions released from burning medical waste, which result in toxic pollutants in the environment. c) Public exposure to infectious microbes and instruments.

CLASSIFICATION OF BIOMEDICAL WASTE

Biomedical waste is of two types, hazardous and Non-Hazardous waste. Hazardous waste can be further categorised into potentially contagious waste and potentially toxic waste. According to WHO (World Health Organisation), 85% of waste generated by health care centres are nonhazardous. These contain of wash water, paper cartons, packaging material, food remnants etc. The other 10% are contagious waste which includes sharps like needles and syringes, infected dressings and swabs, animal wastes from veterinary hospitals, tissues, organs, blood products etc. Toxic waste includes radioactive, chemical and pharmaceutical waste. The World Health Organization (WHO) classified biomedical waste into eight categories; 1) General waste 2) Pathological waste 3) Radioactive waste 4) Chemical waste 5) Infectious waste 6) Sharps 7) Pharmaceutical waste 8) Pressurized containers

PROCESS OF BIOMEDICAL WASTE MANAGEMENT

In light of the technological advancements, hospital industry is one of the growing industries not just in India, but all over the world. It is of pertinent importance that wastes like body parts, organs, tissues, blood and body fluids, cottons, bandage, needles discharged from the health care units are collected, segregated, stored, transported, treated and disposed of in proper manner. The process of biomedical waste management includes waste collection, segregation, transportation and storage, treatment & disposal

  1. a) Composition of Biomedical Waste:

This is an important component of the waste management system. It includes; firstly, identifying the type and amount of waste generated and thereafter find out the type of disposal carried out.

  1. b) Segregation:

Segregation refers to the basic division of the various categories of waste at basis thereby reducing the cost of both handling and disposal of waste. This process helps to prevent medical and municipal waste thereby ensuring medical waste management. It is the most important process of biomedical waste management.

The process involves differentiating wastes into various categories and placing each one of them in different containers or coded bags at the point of generation. It also provides an opportunity to recycle certain items.

  1. c) Collection

It involves usage of various types of containers from different sources like kitchen, hospital ward, operation theatre, laboratory etc.

d)Storage

Storage of biomedical waste is basically done in the areas and steps between the point of waste generation and location of waste treatment and disposal, generally near places where waste is treated. This is done post the collection of waste as per the colour coded bins. There is limitation clause for the period of duration of storage as it should not be more than 8 – 10 hrs for multi-speciality hospitals and 24 hrs for nursing homes. There is also a need of a caution= sign for storage site for it to be noticeable to the general public.

  1. e) Transportation

Transportation of biomedical waste has to be carried out by using carts and containers which are not used for any other purpose. Trolleys and vans used for transportation must be cleaned regularly. There should not be any spillage form the container or from the van. The trolleys or vans or any other means of transport should be easily cleanable with rounded corners.

  1. f) Biomedical waste treatment technologies

The method of treatment should be such that waste is modified before reaching its ultimate resting place. There are various types of treatment technology for each type of biomedical wastes. They include a) Incineration method, b) Autoclave treatment, c) Hydroclave treatment, d) Microwave treatment e) Chemical disinfecting f) Land filling g) General waste handling. These methods were used to treat the biomedical wastes.

Asst.Prof.of Law —-Aparajita Das .

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Important Links to visit:
Home Page, About IILS, Law Courses, Contact IILS