Importance of Managing Various Clinical Wastes

Do you know that according to the data shared by World Health Organization (WHO), about 16 billion injections are administered in a year all over the world? With this startling figure, you can realize how much waste our health care industries are producing every year. The waste management is a very serious matter not only for our environment but also for the health and safety of the people.

Proper management of clinical waste may offer you following benefits.

  • Cost efficiency

It has been established that with proper segregation of various medical waste one can save lots of money.

  • Reduces environmental impact

With the proper disposal of hazardous materials as a waste ensure better protection of the environment and the negative impacts are greatly reduced and controlled.

  • Health and safety

Medical staffs who are working in a hospital and the patient must be protected from dangerous exposure to various drugs, contaminated equipment and sharps. As per the data available to us about 48 percent of hospital workers were injured at some point of their career by sharp or needle that was used for a patient.

What is clinical waste?

Now let us try to understand what we mean by clinical waste? Following definitions can reflect the term clearly.

  • The wastes that may consist of blood or any other body fluids, animal tissues, drugs or any other kinds of medicinal products, dressings or swabs, needles, syringes or any other sharp items that can prove to be hazardous to anyone if they get in contact with.
  • Clinical waste can also be various waste items from a medical, veterinary, nursing or pharmaceutical practices, treatments, investigations, teachings or research, a collection of blood for transfusion that are waste, which may cause infection if any person gets in contact with them.

Clinical waste can be divided broadly into the following three groups of materials:

  1. Those healthcare wastes that can cause infection.
  2. The healthcare wastes that can be chemically hazardous.
  3. Medicine wastes, contaminated waste, and pharmaceutically active agents.

Who are the producers of clinical waste?

Clinical waste producers include various Hospitals, Nursing homes, Dental clinics, Veterinary hospitals and various community healthcare services. According to Environmental Protection Act 1990, people who are an importer, carrier or producer has to exercise control of such wastes at their capacity according to their circumstances. They have following duties:

  • Prevent anyone from committing any offense by depositing, recovering or disposing of any controlled wastes with an environmental permit.
  • Prevent escape of clinical wastes
  • Wastes to be transferred to only some authorized persons
  • If waste is transferred then document the details of the waste

How to segregate your waste

  • Department of Health instructs that all different clinical wastes must be stored in color-coded containers so that it is easier to identify them.
  • There should be proper dental clinical waste disposal system and procedure in place to separate amalgam wastes where dental treatments are provided.

There is a need of greater awareness among the producers of various clinical wastes, and they should also impart the knowledge and expertise to their staff that is responsible for handling various clinical items in their daily work.