Waste management, an issue affecting almost every country in the world, has raised concerns for the future of effective waste management.

Biomedical waste is the type of waste generated during the diagnosing process, treatment of a medical condition, or the immunization process of a living being.

Over 90% of the generated waste is irresponsibly managed and is either burned or dumped without recycling, leading to the emergence of waste dumps, further affecting the health of people living around the area.

Healthcare waste should be properly disposed off and the first step towards it is, segregation i.e. dividing it into different categories like sharp products, infectious wastes, waste contaminated with potentially infectious human blood, body fluids, blood components, etc.

Improper segregation and disposal can lead to groundwater pollution and can also trigger a large number of diseases. Open burning without pollution control is also quite damaging as it can lead to the spread of toxic gases in the nearby areas and thereby, affecting the health of people and even trigger new diseases. Separation of hazardous from non-hazardous waste can drastically minimize the volume of waste that requires specialized treatment.

 Also, with the emergence of COVID-19, there is an increased medical waste that needs to be discarded responsibly. We can’t stop using masks, gloves, face shields, or other protective equipment but we can surely dispose them off the right way. Burning of masks, sanitizer containers, PPE kits, latex gloves, and other medical equipment is not the solution. We need to find better, green methods for disposing off single-use plastics. Microwave technology-based medical waste disinfectant should be installed in almost every hospital as it will turn the infected waste into normal waste and has also proven to be effective in disinfecting PPE kits so that they could become reusable.

Steam sterilization or chemical disinfection is another effective method to dispose off medical waste. Correct and effective use of medical waste disinfectant equipment by the hospitals is the need of the hour tor there’s a possibility of the emergence of a future epidemic.

Author: Vanshika Jain