Waste management is a vital factor in reducing environmental pollution. Workplaces such as hospitals mainly produce both hazardous, infectious and toxic wastes and also non-toxic waste materials. Safe, environmentally-friendly disposal of such waste is important to ensure that both community and environment are protected from the ills of industrial waste. Hence, strict abidance to the guidelines of proper waste management and good coordination of these waste management practices should be employed by such workplaces so that a greener and cleaner planet can be maintained.
Hazardous waste can be classified as a solid waste, or a combination of solid waste, which due to its quantity, concentration, or physical or chemical characteristics may cause or contribute, to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible, or incapacitating reversible, illness. Hence, it could pose a serious hazard to human health or the environment if improperly treated, stored, transported, or disposed of. Meanwhile, infectious waste are those that contain human tissues/organs or other infectious bodily fluids. In terms of disposal expenditure, hazardous waste is more costly to dispose of, than infectious waste (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 1976).
[...] The major concern always arises when deciding how to dispose the waste. Improper waste disposal practices, such as mixing hospital waste with municipal waste on roadsides, disposal of syringes and needles in regular dustbins should be avoided at all costs, due to ill effects on the health of the general public. Some good waste disposal measures that could be applied are the following: Autoclaving, where infectious waste containers which contained materials such as body fluids, tissues and others, are heated by steam under pressure. [...]
[...] Radioactive waste or solid waste should not be disposed into the sewer. (Environmental Pollution Unit: WWF- Pakistan, 2011) The management has to be made aware of the new initiatives to be implemented so that they could budget and allocate funds and resources for waste disposal. Furthermore, training for staff in the nursing, cleaning and administration departments on new disposal measures have to be carried out so that an cleaner and greener workplace could be established, while in the same time providing excellent healthcare for patients. [...]
[...] Proposed initiatives for waste isolation, handling and disposal The waste should be categorized, isolated and placed in appropriate containers, as soon as it is regarded as waste. For instance, if there is a hazardous and infectious waste mixture, it has to be separated and placed in separate marked bins, so that handling, storage and transportation can be made easy. Waste containers should be yellow color-coded with a ‘biological hazard' sign marking on them. Furthermore, the waste storage area should also be clearly sign posted and kept clean (National Health and Medical Research Council, 1999). [...]
[...] However, waste incineration creates numerous problems such as the following: - Volatile heavy metals in the products may be released into the air during the burning process and this may be a problem as it would require further filtering before release of waste gases into the atmosphere. - During the combustion process, toxic dioxins can be created from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products or other chlorine-based products. These dioxins are by-products of incineration and are known to persist in the environment and in our bodies. They are believed to have a half-life of seven to twelve years in the human body. Disposal to the sewerage must be according to the municipal and occupational health and safety guidelines and an approval is necessary from the relevant authorities. [...]
[...] Management, staff and contractors' responsibilities, in regards to proper waste disposal. Appropriate waste categorization, isolation, storage and disposal according to the potential hazard they could cause to the environment. Waste minimization by the 3R strategy: Replace, Re-use and Recycle (National Health and Medical Research Council, 1999) Hazardous waste can be classified as a solid waste, or a combination of solid waste, which due to its quantity, concentration, or physical or chemical characteristics may cause or contribute, to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible, or incapacitating reversible, illness. [...]
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