The preponderance of illnesses and diseases due to improper disposal of Biomedical waste is getting into an alarming dimension. Covid-19 pandemic and the transfer of infectious diseases brought a higher level of concern for the proper disposal of medical and hazardous wastes. This article explores the importance of appropriate disposal of biomedical wastes using medical and hazardous waste incinerators in Nigeria. This new concept of waste disposal must be an action item for all medical-related businesses and even hotels with contact with human wastes. Industrial concerns that handle industrial hazardous wastes will find it useful to use incinerators to dispose of their garbage to not have issues with policymakers or the government. Biomedical or hospital waste is any waste that is both hazardous and infectious. It can be either in a liquid form such as blood and body fluids or in a solid state such as sharps (needles, used syringes, broken ampules) and packaging, used bandages, and even human body tissue.
Improper biomedical waste management poses a lot of health risks to both hospital staff and non-employees. That’s why many organizations like US EPA and OSHA strictly impose proper waste management protocols. But aside from health risks, there are other reasons why these organizations should make sure their biowaste is disposed of correctly.
GZ Industrial Supplies team compiled this article for a clear understanding of the ramifications of the use of incinerators for medical and hazardous waste disposal in Nigeria.
Waste and by-products cover a diverse range of materials, as the following list illustrates:
- Infectious waste: waste contaminated with blood and other bodily fluids (e.g., from discarded diagnostic samples), cultures and stocks of infectious agents from laboratory work (e.g., waste from autopsies and infected animals from laboratories), or waste from patients with infections (e.g., swabs, bandages, and disposable medical devices);
- Pathological waste: human tissues, organs or fluids, body parts, and contaminated animal carcasses;
- Sharps waste: syringes, needles, disposable scalpels, and blades, etc.;
- Chemical waste: for example, solvents and reagents used for laboratory preparations, disinfectants, sterilants, and heavy metals contained in medical devices (e.g., mercury in broken thermometers) and batteries;
- Pharmaceutical waste: expired, unused and contaminated drugs and vaccines;
- Cytotoxic waste: waste containing substances with genotoxic properties (i.e., highly hazardous substances that are mutagenic, teratogenic, or carcinogenic), such as cytotoxic drugs used in cancer treatment and their metabolites;
- Radioactive waste: such as products contaminated by radionuclides and radioactive diagnostic material or radiotherapeutic materials; and
- Non-hazardous or general waste: waste that does not pose any particular biological, chemical, radioactive or physical hazard.
Benefits of Proper Biomedical Waste Handling
We all heard that improper biomedical waste poses many health risks, but we tend not to see the benefits of properly doing it. Also, it isn’t emphasized enough that proper biomedical waste handling can reduce potential problems such as the following.
Reduction In The Occurrence Of Fatal Diseases
We can can curtail illnesses and diseases such as HIV/AIDS, sepsis, and other diseases transmitted by infectious medical equipment if hospitals and other healthcare organizations know the proper bio-waste disposal procedure. There should be appropriate training in hospital waste management to maintain such practice in an organization such as hospitals, testing centers, laboratories, and even clinics both for humans and animals.
Prevents Illegal Trading of Used Medical Tools
One of the alarming concerns being mitigated by properly handling hospital waste is the illegal trading of used medical equipment and tools. This case is very popular as using disposed syringes is everyday news.
The health risks of using syringes and needles are the primary causes of the widespread contraction of diseases. Used syringes and needles are contaminated with an unknown substance, and it may lead to the contraction of different diseases once used again.
Low Injury Reports
When healthcare organizations follow and practice proper health waste management, it is highly expected that there will be low injury reports of health staff incurring injuries at the workplace.
In the US alone, healthcare personnel experience 300,000 needlestick and other sharps-related injuries every year. That rate is highly concerning as needlestick injuries can expose you to various health cases. But with proper waste handling and management, this is being taken care of, and gradually reports are decreased.
How To Properly Dispose of Biomedical Waste?
Now that we have acknowledged the benefits of proper hospital waste management, let us learn to dispose of them correctly. Healthcare organizations should be concerned about treating their patients, but they are also responsible for making sure that they’re not the ones who caused it. And it starts in practice to dispose of biomedical waste properly.
Classification of Biomedical Waste and Segregation
The very first step to properly dispose of biomedical waste is to know their classification, that way, you’d know how to do their proper segregation as well. Proper waste segregation is the fundamental step in handling biomedical waste. Once you know how to segregate the waste properly, the rest of the procedure can quickly be done.
What Is a Medical Waste Incinerator?
In the world of generated medical waste, two of the most common disposal methods are incineration and autoclaving.
A medical waste autoclave runs at about 300 degrees (Fahrenheit) and sterilizes items through heated steam, an incinerator runs at 1,800 degrees.
When waste material emerges from an incinerator, all that is left is a bit of residue—also sometimes referred to as “ash” or “dust.” In medical waste autoclaves, however, the items are still generally intact after the sterilization process.
What Kind of Waste Needs to Be in a Medical Waste Incinerator?
Not every type of generated waste requires incineration. However, if you’re producing (or think you might create) the following types of waste, incineration should be part of your waste disposal strategy:
- Trace chemotherapy waste.
- Pathological waste, including body parts and other biological tissues.
- Some types of hazardous waste.
Why are medical wastes incinerated?
The primary purpose of any medical waste incinerator is to eliminate pathogens from waste and reduce the waste to ashes. However, some medical wastes, such as pharmaceutical or chemical wastes, require higher temperatures for complete destruction.
Availability of Nigeria-made medical and hazardous waste incinerators in Nigeria, please contact us