In our daily living, we tend to generate a lot of waste including bio medical waste otherwise ordinary waste. There are certain standard waste management principles in daily life for bio medical waste management and handling. These rules apply to all those who generate, collect, receive, store, transport, treat, dispose, or handles bio medical waste.
The aim of these rules is proper segregation, storage, movement and treatment biomedical waste.
Bio Medical Waste vs Ordinary Waste:
BIO MEDICAL WASTE is any waste generated in diagnosis, treatment or immunization of human beings or animals, In health delivery system or research or in production and testing of biological products. Major sources of bio medical waste generation includes hospitals, nursing home, immunization center, labs, research centers.
ORDINARY WASTE is what is generated during the normal course of daily living or business. It is basically what you throw in your trash can every week for curbside pick-up. It includes organic kitchen waste, paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, metals etc.
First principle: Don’t mix bio medical waste with ordinary waste.
Importance of segregation of waste:
In general the major portion of waste produced is non-hazardous (~80 %) while little portion (~20 %) is bio hazardous waste. which includes
- Infectious waste i.e sharps, non-sharps, plastics, disposables, liquid wastes(~15 %)
- Non-infectious waste i,e radioactive waste, discarded glass, chemical waste, cytotoxic waste, incinerated waste (~5 %).
So if bio hazardous waste which is in little quantity mixed with non-hazardous waste, then the whole lot of waste becomes infections. Similarly in homes if some sought of bio waste generated out of infected person and is mixed with ordinary waste then it could not only spoils the waste generated at the home but also the whole lot of community waste that was collected along for waste treatment.
Examples of biomedical waste in diabetic care includes urine sample container, vacutainer (For blood samples), gauze piece, insulin syringe, cotton swab etc.
The untreated biomedical waste should not to be stored beyond 48 hours.
Categories of bio medical waste:
Cat 1: Human anatomical waste
Cat 2: Animal waste
Cat 3: Microbiology and biotechnology waste
Cat 4: Waste sharps
Cat 5: Discarded medicines and cytotoxic drugs
Cat 6: Solid waste
Cat 7: Solid waste (Disposables)
Cat 8: Liquid wast
Cat 8: Incinerator ash
Cat 10: Chemical waste
Segregation of waste:
Black bag: It is used for general waste example, Non-infected plastics, cardboard, packaging material, paper
Blue bag: It is used for disinfected and mutilated plastics example, Blood bags, IV sets, tubing, urine bags, syringes, catheters, gloves
Red bag: It includes infectious waste example, Microbiological and biotechnological waste, blood-soaked bandages, soiled dressing and cotton swabs. These type of waste need to be incinerated.
Yellow bag: It includes body parts and anatomical tissues example, Human tissue, organs, body parts, animal waste, placenta.
Sharpe: Discarded sharps like needle, broken glass, suture needles, lancets, blades, scapels are usually collected in specialized boxes, often called needle boxes.
Needle Syringe Destroyer helps to destroyer needles and syringes immediately after use. Syringes and needles should be disposed off immediately in order to avoid reuse by irresponsible elements.
Reuse of syringes and other medical equipments is a major cause for many illnesses and diseases like HIV. One should avoid recapping of used needles as part of safe work practice.
Note: Exposure to a needle or other sharp object contaminated with the blood of an infectious person presents the greatest potential risk for transmission of HBV, HIV, and other blood borne pathogens to the health-care worker and waste handler
Incineration of waste:
Incineration is a waste treatment process that involves the combustion of organic substances contained in waste materials. Incineration and other high-temperature (800°C – 1500 °C) waste treatment systems are described as “thermal treatment”. Incineration of waste materials converts the waste into ash, flue gas, and heat.
The flue gases must be cleaned of gaseous and particulate pollutants before they are dispersed into the atmosphere. In some cases, the heat generated by incineration can be used to generate electric power.
Incineration has particularly strong benefits for the treatment of certain waste types in niche areas such as clinical wastes and certain hazardous wastes where pathogens and toxins can be destroyed by high temperatures. Examples include chemical multi-product plants with diverse toxic or very toxic waste water streams, which cannot be routed to a conventional waste water treatment plant.
incinerators reduce the solid mass of the original waste by 80–85% and the volume (already compressed somewhat in garbage trucks) by 95–96%, depending on composition and degree of recovery of materials such as metals from the ash for recycling. This means that while incineration does not completely replace land filling, it significantly reduces the necessary volume for disposal.
- Although ash from biomedical waste incinerators does not contain viable micro-organisms, it may contain a significant quantity of sharps, such as needles and glass which may not be fully destroyed in the burning process, and may thus still pose a physical hazard to persons who clean out incinerator ash and residues.
- Staff responsible for loading and cleaning out incinerators should wear appropriate protective equipment, including dust masks, heavy gloves and safety shoes with puncture-proof toes and soles to avoid injury. Protective eye wear should also be worn, as glass that has melted and stuck to the incinerator refractory may shatter when struck by a shovel being used to remove ash.
Decontaminating Biomedical Waste Spills:
- if some blood sample or bio waste falls on hand or spills on ground, then inform supervisor so an assessment of the spill can be conducted.
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (gloves, clothing cover, safety glasses)
- Place solid materials from a spill clean up into an appropriate package and dispose as biomedical waste.
- Clean any surface contaminated with biomedical waste with a solution of detergent to remove visible soil and then disinfect with a bleach solution, sodium hypo-chloride solution, alcohol, or other appropriate germicidal solution.
- Dispose of liquid waste from a chemical disinfection operation via the sanitary sewer system.
References and Further reading:
- http://dpcc.delhigovt.nic.in/bmwsch1.htm ; Categories of bio medical waste
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcZrsj9DKLs ; Certificate Programme for Diabetes Community Worker (CDCW)