Waste is produced by all human activities.
• Water, soil, and air are polluted by industrial waste, sewage, and agricultural waste.
• It can also be harmful to people and the environment. Similarly, hospitals and other health-care facilities generate a lot of waste, which can spread infections like HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and Tetanus to those who handle or come into contact with it.
• Every year, India generates around three million tons of medical waste, which is expected to grow at an annual rate of 8%.
• “Any solid and/or liquid waste, including its container and any intermediate product, generated during the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals, or research activities pertaining thereto, or in the production or testing of biological or in health camps,” according to the definition of bio-medical waste.
1. BIO MEDICAL WASTE CONSISTS OF:
1. Anatomical waste from humans, such as tissues, organs, and body part.
2. Animal waste from veterinary hospitals generated during research
3. Waste from microbiology and biotechnology
4. Sharps such as hypodermic needles, syringes, scalpels, and broken glass should be thrown away.
5. Medications and cytotoxic drugs that have been thrown away
6. Soiled waste, such as bandages, plaster casts, blood-contaminated material, tubes, and catheters
7. Any of the infected areas' liquid waste
8. Ashes from incinerators and other chemical waste
• Segregation is the basic separation of different types of waste generated at the source, lowering the risks as well as the costs of handling and disposal. The most important step in biomedical waste management is segregation. Effective segregation is not enough to ensure proper biomedical waste management.
2. HOW DOES SEGREGATION HELP?
1. Segregation reduces the amount of waste that requires special treatment and handling.
2. An effective segregation process prevents medical waste, such as sharps, from being mixed with general municipal waste.
3. Prevents the illegal reuse of medical waste components such as used syringes, needles, and other plastics.
4. Allows for the recycling of certain components of medical waste, such as plastics, following proper and thorough disinfection.
5. For non-food applications, recycled plastic material can be used.
6. Biodegradable waste from the general waste stream can be composted on the hospital grounds and used for gardening.
7. Recycling is a good environmental practice that can also serve as a source of revenue.
8. Reduces treatment and disposal costs (80% of a hospital's waste is general waste, which does not require special treatment if it is not contaminated with infectious waste).
3. PROPER LABELLING OF BINS
The biohazard symbol should be displayed on the bins and bags to alert patients and the general public to the nature of the waste.
• Biomedical waste is collected using various types of containers from various sources of biomedical waste, such as the operating room, laboratory, wards, kitchen, and corridor.
• The containers/bins should be placed in such a way that they collect 100% of the trash. Sharps must always be kept in puncture-proof containers to protect workers from injuries and infection.
• After collection, biomedical waste is stored in a secure location.
• Different types of waste must be separated and collected in clearly labelled containers.
• In large hospitals (more than 250 beds), storage should not last longer than 8-10 hours, and in nursing homes, it should last no longer than 24 hours. Each container should be clearly labelled to indicate which ward or room it is kept in.
• This labelling is necessary in case it becomes necessary to trace the waste back to its source. Aside from that, a warning sign should be placed in the storage area.
• Trolleys or covered wheelbarrows should be used to transport the waste for treatment.
• As much as possible, manual loading should be avoided. Before transporting BMWs, the bags/containers containing them should be tied/lidded. Before transporting the BMW bag, it must be accompanied by a signed document from a nurse or doctor that includes the date, shift, quantity, and destination.
• Special vehicles must be used to prevent transportation operators, scavengers, and the general public from having direct access to and contact with the waste.
• The transport containers must be well-protected. The driver should be trained in the procedures to follow in the event of an accidental spillage, and the effects of traffic accidents should be considered in the design. It should also be possible to thoroughly clean the containers' interiors.
7. PERSONNEL SAFETY DEVICES
• All personnel handling waste should be required to wear protective equipment.
a. Gloves: Heavy-duty rubber gloves should be worn by waste retrievers when handling waste. The color should be bright yellow. The gloves should be washed twice after handling the waste. After each use, the gloves should be washed with carbolic soap and disinfectant. The operator's size should be appropriate.
b. Apparel, such as aprons, gowns, suits, and other garments, is worn to keep clothing clean and protect the skin. It could be made of cloth or a water-resistant material like plastic. Gowns or suits made of non-flammable materials should be worn by those working in incinerator chambers.
c. Masks: To provide a protective barrier, various types of masks, goggles, and face shields are worn alone or in combination. Personnel working in the incinerator chamber are required to wear a mask that covers both their nose and mouth, preferably a gas mask with filters.
d. Boots: When handling large amounts of infected waste or splashes, leg coverings, boots, or shoe covers provide more protection to the skin. Rubber-soled, anti-skid boots are recommended. They should go all the way down the leg to the ankle.
8. CLEANING DEVICES
a. Brooms: The broom must be at least 1.2 meters long so that the worker does not have to stoop to sweep. The broom's diameter should be comfortable to hold. Depending on the type of flooring, the broom brush should be soft or hard.
b. Dustpans: Dustpans should be used to collect dust generated during sweeping operations. They can be made of plastic or metal that has been enameled. To prevent dust from sticking to the surface, they should be free of ribs and have smooth contours. Every time they're used, they should be disinfected and dried.
c. Swabbing the floor requires the use of mops with long handles. They must be made of either cloth or rubber. Depending on the amount of wear and tear, the mop must be replaced. The mop with the mechanical screw is ideal for squeezing out the water.
d. Vacuum cleaners: Depending on the size of the rooms, domestic or industrial vacuum cleaners can be used.
9. STORAGE DEVICE
a. It is critical to determine the amount of waste generated at each location. Dustbins should be large enough to prevent overflowing between waste collection cycles. After each cycle of waste removal, disinfectants should be used to clean the dustbins. Dustbins can be lined with chlorine-free plastic bags that are colour coded according to the law.
10. HANDLING DEVICES
• Instead of creating a new waste category, the use of trolleys will make it easier to remove infectious waste at the source.
• The waste is transported from the point of origin to the collection center using wheelbarrows.
• Wheelbarrows come in two varieties: covered and open. Steel wheelbarrows with two wheels and a handle are commonly used. It is important not to dump waste into it directly.
• Only waste that has been packed (in plastic bags) should be transported.
• Chutes are vertical conduits that allow waste to be transported vertically in institutions with more than two floors. Stainless steel should be used to make the chutes.
• A self-closing lid should be included. These chutes should be fumigated with formaldehyde vapors on a daily basis. Each floor's contaminated linen (containing blood or other bodily fluids) should be bundled in soiled linen or plastic bags before being ejected into the chute.
• Elevators with mechanical or electrical winches can also be provided to bring waste containers down from each floor. Chutes are required to avoid horizontal waste transport, minimizing waste routing within the premises and thus lowering the risk of secondary contamination.