Healthcare providers ‘too laid back’ when it comes to clinical waste

More robust systems are needed for the management of clinical waste with many healthcare providers "too laid back" when it comes to dealing with the matter, according to a recent report.

Activities by healthcare facilities represent 3% to 8% of the climate change footprint in developed countries, the Frost & Sullivan study states. The report, which focussed on practices out in India, found that around 1.48m tonnes of healthcare waste was generated each year in the country.

It also found that nearly a third of clinical waste (28%) wasn’t being treated by registered healthcare facilities in India on a daily basis. Currently, waste management in India commonly means dumping at landfill sites. In most cities of India, outsourced private agencies and municipalities do the waste collection.

Some restraints faced by the sector are insufficient focus on policies and procedures by government facilities and little regard for stringent and mandatory laws at state, district and city levels.

Lack of a proper waste collection and transportation system, common biomedical waste treatment facilities add to the pressures. The regional distribution is also highly skewed.

According to a healthcare practice industry manager, Anurag Dubey, the systems aren’t in place to effectively monitor how the waste is being treated. He said: “Though we are equipped with the required expertise related to thermal and mechanical technologies of waste treatment, there is a need to understand the exact numbers of equipment required.”

While the report points out that healthcare waste management is gaining importance in India, strong control and understanding of the entire process is required. By source-segregating more, better treatment options would result in financial, health and environmental benefits.

Maxine Perella

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