The Sehore district in Madhya Pradesh attracts a significant population for medical treatment, boasting 60 private hospitals/health care facilities and 69 medical clinics that operate without beds. The waste generated from these health institutions is responsibly managed at the Biomedical Waste Treatment Facility, under the administration of the Environment Protection Corporation situated in Sehore City. This institution houses an incinerator, which is a type of furnace designed to burn hazardous materials. Additionally, it comprises an autoclave, a machine designed to sterilise objects utilising high-temperature steam and pressure, as well as a shredder, which is used for daily waste destruction.
Based on data from the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Sehore generates 80.983 kg of biomedical waste daily. Discussing the capacity of Sehore’s current biomedical waste treatment facility, EPC, it can incinerate up to 100 kg of waste hourly, autoclave between 40 to 80 kg of waste every hour. Further, shred up to 35 kg per hour.
What is biomedical waste?
Biomedical waste refers to, the materials generated after the treatment of humans and animals, which encompasses organs, tissues, blood, medical tools, medication, syringes, bottles, gloves, blades, and other related items. This type of waste must be handled differently from standard household rubbish due to the presence of hazardous bacteria, viruses, and toxic chemicals. Consequently, hospitals should utilise four distinct colour-coded bins (red, blue, yellow, and white) to enable effective segregation of these categories. This practice was initiated by the Environment Ministry of the Government of India in 2016, with the primary goal of facilitating accurate distribution and disposal of these diverse types of waste. It’s comparable to how we are encouraged to segregate wet and dry rubbish in our homes to ensure proper waste management. The hospital administration bears the responsibility for ensuring biomedical waste is properly segregated.
This category encompasses both human and animal anatomical waste, such as human tissues, body parts like fetuses after birth or appendices, and any waste derived from an animal’s body. It also includes waste tainted by body fluids, notably blood and its derivatives like used bandages, plaster, and cotton swabs, as well as discarded blood. Pharmaceutical waste like expired medicines, antibiotics, cytotoxic drugs, as well as syringes, vials, and other implements contaminated with these substances, are also accounted for. Moreover, fabrics stained with blood, like bedsheets and curtains, are also included. All such waste is designated for disposal in yellow dustbins. These waste materials are then either incinerated at a biomedical waste treatment facility or buried in a deep pit for safe disposal.
Red-coloured dustbins are designated for recyclable waste such as tubes, bottles, urine bags, syringes (without needles), gloves, and similar items. These materials are treated via autoclaving, a method which utilises chemicals to disinfect waste prior to recycling.
This container houses sharp metallic waste such as needles, cutters, and blades. Initially, they are subjected to autoclaving, then followed by shredding. Shredding refers to the process of reducing these items into minute pieces.
Fabricated from cardboard, this item houses fragments of glass, medical bottles, and metal implants. Subjected to disinfection with sodium hypochlorite, it is then dispatched for recycling.
Biomedical waste collection
The hospital administration is responsible for separating the waste, which is later collected by biomedical waste treatment agencies, such as the Environment Protection Corporation in Sehore. These agencies utilise barcoded bags that detail information regarding the weight and type of waste. This information is subsequently uploaded directly to the Pollution Control Board’s website.
The waste from this location is transported to the biomedical waste treatment facility. Upon arrival, depending on its nature, the waste is either incinerated, autoclaved, or shredded.
Imtiaz Baig of Environment Protection Corporation explains that,
“Patient attendants often inadvertently dispose of food items and foil in bins designated for biomedical waste, complicating the waste separation process. Increasing awareness around proper waste disposal can help prevent this issue.”
The importance of proper disposal cannot be overstressed due to the hazardous nature of biomedical waste. Direct contact poses a significant health risk, potentially leading to serious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. This describes the method of medical waste disposal in Sehore City. Although technological advancements and systems are employed, a lapse in attention and inadequate separation often results in biomedical waste being transported to the landfill site.
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