Medical Waste Management

Wastes are bio-medical when they come from the treatment, diagnosis or immunization or during research activities or tests of biological specimens. Any preparations derived from microorganisms (or organisms) or the products of biochemical and metabolic reactions, intended for the use of biological specimens in immunizations, research or the diagnosis of people or animals. Find out more!

In the health sector, waste can be a wide range of items, including used syringes or needles, dirty dressings, body part, blood samples, chemical, pharmaceutical, medical device, and radioactive substances. Infection, toxic effects, and injury can be caused by poor waste management. This also puts health care workers at risk. The segregation of medical waste at its source, treatment and disposal are essential. As a result of low-temperature incineration or the incineration of plastics with polyvinyl chloride, toxic pollutants such as dioxins andfurans can occur in fly or bottom ash. These toxic substances are produced by industrial processes including the combustion wastes with polyvinyl chloride. Other toxic air pollutants, such as dioxins, PCBs or furans can be released in fly ash, bottom ash, and emissions.

If the necessary infrastructure is in place, it will be possible to properly dispose of waste from rural health clinics as well as larger medical facilities. WHO estimated in 2000 that contaminated injections from contaminated syringes have caused 21 million Hepatitis B virus infection (HBV), two millions Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), forty thousand new HIV infections and at least twenty-six thousand HIV infections. According to a WHO report conducted in 1992, up to 64% of hospitals did not have proper methods for disposing of medical waste.