Reasons for the Failure of Waste Management Systems and the Solution
Failure usually results from one of these factors or a combination of them:
- Lack of awareness regarding the health hazards of mismanaged healthcare waste
- Inadequate training in correct waste management practices
- An absence of waste management systems and facilities due to a lack of financial or human resources
- Lack of appropriate legislation or enforcement of the laws and regulations
The solution lies in increased resource distribution for this problem along with better diligence to avoid poor practices that result in accidental exposure to pathogens and toxins.
Countries need to:
- Promote better practices at the source to reduce the volume of waste produced
- Teach and provide for good waste segregation
- Have strict regulation and oversight to ensure the enforcement of good waste segregation, treatment and disposal. The goal should be to meet national and international standards.
- Where possible and affordable, favour environmentally sound treatments such as microwaving over incineration.
- Set comprehensive systems in place that look at allocation of resources, waste handling, treatment, storage and disposal practices.
Of course, although immediate action can be taken by the management of individual healthcare facilities, ultimately government intervention is necessary for long-term global change in the situation.