Medical Waste Management in Healthcare: Need of the Hour

  • Analysis
  • 04-September-2020

With the rise of coronavirus, medical waste has become more visible than before. The environmental trace of healthcare goes deeper, and as a result, its reduction could save numerous lives. The combustion of fossil fuels has been one of the major contributors to the deaths related to air pollution that kills approximately 4 million people all around the globe each year. Had it been a country, healthcare could have been the fifth-largest emitter of harmful greenhouse gases due to its carbon emissions.

Climatic Health and Cost of Waste

The frontline workers often have to juggle between providing essential healthcare and being environment-friendly. They often find it much difficult to maintain sustainability while assuring the safety of a patient. The need of the hour is to seek a prominent global medical waste management healthcare system wherein the doctors wouldn't have to pick one between the two. The shift can sometimes be as simple as testing assumptions.  

Frontline health workers have lately emphasized the demand for single-use plastics, mainly to prevent contagious diseases from spreading and taking hold- and COVID-19 is the best example. The safe disposal of hazardous used PPE is necessary when it comes to contagious diseases like COVID-19. Still, only 15% of the total healthcare waste is categorized as "hazardous,"- which mainly covers the type of wastes prone to become a source of infection or is toxic or radioactive. The global medical disposables market is gaining an all-time boost.The other 85% constitutes the type of waste usually generated in our homes, and the reductions should come in this non-hazardous 85% of waste. Coronavirus carries the potential to become a catalyst as the environment's degradation would lead to a sharp rise in these types of deadly diseases. 

Numerous health benefits and pro-environmental behavior can be aligned with the present healthcare facilities by a sharp cut in the greenhouse gas discharge. Apart from the deaths and diseases caused globally by increased heatwaves, a rise in the sea level, and extreme weather conditions, cutting emissions can result in cost savings, which in turn, can be directed back towards the healthcare facilities. 

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