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Influence of Disposal of the Medical Wastes on the Environment


Writer: Arda Bora Karahan


Either before or after technology, people always have been producing waste via substances they consumed or any non-utilizable objects. However, financial needs associated with the development of technology and industry based on population growth increased the amount of waste rapidly, which also made their classification necessary. One of the largest fields is definitely medical waste. Medical wastes are objects which compose of sharp, pathological, or infected wastes that are obligated from medical facilities and threaten the balance of the environment. Also, disposal of them plays a huge role in terms of the health of the environment and people. Although there are lots of cases in both consumption and disposal of waste, even if not, they can suffer people.


While the medical wastes are classified, they are separated by taking into consideration the cases such as substance conditions, whether it is infected or not. On the other hand; despite all of the bad effects on the creatures, only 10% of medical wastes are poisonous, so 90% of them are only enrolled in polluting the areas. WHO (World Health Organization) separated medical waste into nine parts:


  1. Infectious(Biohazardous) Waste: These are wastes that can excrete ‘’pathogen’’ if all conditions are met (Pathogen means every type of morbid virus, bacteria, or fungi). These wastes may be welded because of the objects contracted to ailing persons, places where the operations of the contagious disease have been made, etc. Pathological Waste: The dangerous substances which may be accounted for anatomically, either as waste blood, the parts of the body or frameworks of animals, etc.


  1. Sharps Waste: It is a form of biomedical waste that contains any of the objects used to puncture the skin. Vaccines, syringes, or bistoury are some examples.


  1. Pharmaceutical Waste: It contains expired, virgin, damaged, or any non-utilizable medicine anymore because of other reasons. Besides the medicines, gloves, boxes, and connection tubes are in this group.


  1. Genotoxic Waste: Right along with being so dangerous and risky, they possess a carcinogenic impact on the person. The cytotoxic medicines in this group (It is a type of medicine to kill or prevent the growth of bad cells and specially used in chemotherapy) entail risk since they contain radioactive substances. Any of the tools while it is prepared or puke, urine, or stool of practice are in this group.


  1. Chemical Wastes: They are defined as unusable or non-green chemicals. They might be solid, liquid, or gas substances, wastes that consist of disinfection materials, etc.


  1. Heavy Metal Waste: Since they possess high-level toxicants, they are accepted as a subcategory of dangerous wastes. Fortunately, the utilization of these objects as mercury thermometers has decreased because of new products such as electronic thermometers or sphygmomanometers.


  1. Pressure Vessels: The gasses to use in treatment need to be stored in pressure vessels or aerosols( a device helping disintegration of a solid or liquid in a gas field). Most of them could be reused except arousals but they generally must be closed out and effaced.


  1. Radwaste: A type of waste that is generated from experiments on the body of a human or expended X-Ray paper.


We already stated that these wastes could damage both people and the environment. Let’s look at the environmental and health dimensions of problems that cause medical waste. Firstly, let me say that, even though a person and his/her environment look irrelevant, there is only one piece and that person's environment, nature, and even the universe are an extent of their body. In this sense, every time nature gets harmed, it will be affecting the people, either. Firstly, taking into account of effects on the health of people, the number of diseases that occur because of medical waste can not be overlooked. The major reason for these incidents is hardened blood samples on medical waste. It is also likely to have some viruses, bacteria, or parasites in it. The blood samples and wastes may cause the spreading of some diseases such as AIDS, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. In this respect, risks that medical wastes have constituted are accepted as one of the reasons for fatal diseases. Nevertheless, sharp wastes in this group can endanger if it is not effaced if it is not in a safe manner. Additionally, the wastes which are named "Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP)" are polluting the environment constantly because of their biological properties. They are the objects that can outlast nature without resolution and pile up in adipose tissue, also entail risk to the environment and health of people. To sum up, of the chemical energy they possess, they can pollute the areas where they appear.


It is important to destroy the waste snugly. Scientists found a lot of types of disposal to efface the waste in safe ways. There are two major types of disposal and while some are just to cut up a small number of substances, the rest of them can dispel very large amounts of them.


Incineration: It is a way of disposal that effaces the wastes by burning them. Some facilities have furnaces and they burn the substances there instead of dropping them off at the waste storage areas. Even though incineration is the most commonly used method, it is not suggested because it is both expensive(because of the oil used for burning them) and non-green(due to carbon emissions).


Thermal Treatment(Autoclave): In this order, the wastes are destroyed by using a pressure chamber powered by a high-pressure system. Because it uses radioactive waves while wastes destruction, it is definitely more eco-friendly.


Consequently, medical wastes which didn’t use to entail risk for humanity became a ‘’tough nut’’. Either their production or consumption are significant matters for everyone’s health. Be aware of usage and recycling of them in your environment.





References:


How to dispose of medical waste ' evreka. Evreka “How To Dispose of Medical Waste”. (2022, July 25). Retrieved December 2, 2022. https://evreka.co/blog/how-to-dispose-of-medical-waste/

2707 - ayk.gov.tr. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2022. https://www.ayk.gov.tr/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/SENGUPTA-Anirban-CONSCIOUSNESS-ABOUT-ENVIRONMENT-IN-ANCIENT-INDIA.pdf


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