There is no doubt that medical care is vital for life, but the waste generated from medical activities represents a real problem for people and the world around us. If the waste generated in health care facilities is not handled properly, it causes a direct health impact on society, health care workers, and the environment.
Medical waste includes treated and untreated special waste from health care-related facilities that is comprised of animal waste, microbiological waste, pathological waste, animal blood, human blood, human body fluids, etc.
Every day a large amount of possibly infectious and hazardous waste is generated in the health care hospitals and facilities around the world. This requires specific treatment and management before being disposed of.
And when I say medical waste management requires particular attention, I mean required by law. Specific laws may be different across states and countries, but the basic understanding cannot be mistaken.
To properly dispose of waste, an entity must have a waste management license to ensure federal regulations are being adhered to. This requirement also ensures a waste disposal company is not participating in activities concerning waste disposal that have a negative or harmful impact on the environment or society.
Waste management companies are not permitted to transfer waste to another entity that is not properly authorized to receive it. Violation of this regulation is considered a criminal offense and offenders will be charged accordingly.
Householders are considered exempt from this law where disposal of household trash is concerned.
Why is Medical Waste Management Important?
There are many reasons why it’s important to ensure that medical waste is managed properly. Below I explain a few of them.
If sharps are not disposed of properly it may lead to infection amongst hospital personnel.
If infection control practices are not implemented and strictly enforced then patients and visitors may contract a hospital-acquired infection or HAI. People admitted to the hospital are not the only ones susceptible to infection because waste handlers and scavengers alike can also experience contamination from viruses and bacteria in hospitals. The same is true for people living in the vicinity.
Some unscrupulous businesses may repack and sell the “disposable” material, without even giving it a wash. Similarly, drugs which have been disposed of can be repacked and re-sold.