Is hospital waste not a pollution problem?

what is hospital wasteDo you believe this? Hospital waste is not considered a pollution problem in most of the backward countries of Asia and Africa. In most of such countries hospital waste is treated and handled as ordinary solid waste. Even no precautionary measures are adopted while handling it. Consequently the workers that are assigned to do this task remain directly exposed to its harmful effects.

What is hospital waste?

Hospital waste is generated in hospitals, clinics, laboratories, maternity homes and other medical care units through its all types of medical and medical care activities including treatment, surgeries, pathological testing, patients waste, bleeding and excretion. It comprises of two types of waste one is infectious waste while the other is common solid waste.

Infectious waste

Infectious waste is the most harmful type of solid waste which directly affects the health of human beings. Most of such waste is infectious by nature and spread the diseases to those who come directly under its contact. It is not only physical contact but its harmful germs and bacteria may also be transmitted to people who are near its stock. This type of waste comprises of;
  • Pathological waste of patients
  • Waste of operation activities
  • Medical care disposable utensils that are sharp
  • Blood and refuse of limbs and patients other organs
All of them have infectious effects if they pertain to patients suffering from contagious and harmful diseases. To handle such waste the workers must adopt strict safety measures including
  • Hand gloves
  • Mask
  • Long shoes
  • Glasses
  • Full body cover

Solutions of infectious waste

Incineration: The only solution of this type of waste – the infectious one – is its environmentally safe disposal. Generally its disposal is made through the process of incineration where it has to go through highest level of temperature to neutralize its harmful effects and burn to ashes. The machine which conducts this operation is called incinerator. However, this machine while operating also emits the harmful smoke that is equally dangerous for ambient air and for the health of human beings. In short it has become a permanent source of air pollution.
Autoclave: In view of polluting aspect of the incinerator, the modern world has introduced another method that is called autoclave. In this method, the infectious waste is neutralized through the process of sterilizing and decontamination. It is relatively hi-tech solution and yet to be introduced in backward part of the world.

Ordinary hospital waste

This is just like solid or civic waste. It includes medicine wrappers, food refuse, garbage etc. It is treated in the same manner as garbage is disposed off. However, its undue generation and untimely disposal may also affect the patients of the hospital. Therefore, it is advisable to treat this type of waste generated from hospitals with same level of care as it is done while disposing of infectious waste.


So these are the facts about hospital waste that is not considered a pollution problem in third-world countries. Most of such countries have legislation to bind the hospitals to treat it with environmentally safe methods but implementation mechanism for green laws is so poor there. As a result hospitals and clinics very carelessly treat the hospital waste without any care and put the health of patients and people living nearby hospitals at great risk.
Strangely enough most of the hospitals don’t understand the seriousness of the issue and pretend to be unaware of the harms of such waste. They are very smart because if they understand they have to spend extra money to treat such type of stuff through environmentally safe method. To save a few bucks monthly they actually are playing with the health of that people that is priceless. They being from medical profession must understand this fact but for them money is more important than the human life.

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