Challenges We Face Due to Medical Waste
Every single day, medical centers produce a huge amount of medical waste. While 85% of this waste is nonhazardous, the remaining 15% can be toxic and infectious. Major medical waste generating centers always make sure to collaborate with waste management agencies. On the other hand, some centers don’t consider having this collaboration anymore.
That is why human beings have been exposed to the possible dangers that irresponsible waste disposal has brought.
How Can this Affect Us?
Biologically hazardous materials contain microorganisms that can cause serious infections to those who are always exposed including health workers, hospital patients, and staff. The public is not an exemption. Burning these materials negligently can cause air pollution, toxic exposure, chemical or radiation burns, and more.
And since the generation of medical waste is not done only by medical centers, a huge amount of improperly disposed used syringes and needles is also expected as establishments such as pathologies, slaughterhouses, laboratories, and residential places may produce all these biohazardous waste too. 16 billion infections are reported annually due to incorrect disposal of syringes and needles. This problem has been responsible for many HIV cases as well as hepatitis B and C.
How Can this Affect the Environment?
Improperly disposed healthcare materials affect the environment in almost every facet of it. For example, the open burning of these wastes releases the pollutants dioxins and furans which cause unfortunate health conditions like cancer. On the other hand, improperly disposed healthcare materials can also pollute groundwater and drinking water.
These are just some of the common effects that biologically hazardous medical waste may have on all living things and the environment. Hence, this calls for promoting awareness and proper disposal practices.