|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2015 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 58-59
Need for biomedical waste management
Himanshi Aggarwal, Pradeep Kumar
Department of Prosthodontics, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
|Date of Web Publication||17-Jun-2015|
Dr. Himanshi Aggarwal
Room No. 404, E Block, Gautam Buddha Hostel, Chowk, Lucknow - 226 003, Uttar Pradesh
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Aggarwal H, Kumar P. Need for biomedical waste management. J Med Soc 2015;29:58-9
Medical care is vital for our life and health, but the waste generated from medical activities presents a real problem. Improper management of waste generated in health care facilities causes a direct health impact on the community, health care workers, and the environment. Indiscriminate disposal of biomedical waste (BMW) or hospital waste and exposure to such waste pose serious threats to the environment and human health; hence, such waste requires specific treatment and management prior to its final disposal. Awareness about the need of BMW management among the health care personnel is of paramount importance.
According to Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998 of India, BMW is defined as "any waste which is generated during the diagnosis, treatment or immunization of human beings or animals or in research activities pertaining thereto or in the production or testing of biological". 
The Government of India, as contemplated under Section 6, 8, and 25 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, has laid down the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998. The rules are applicable to every institution generating BMW, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, dispensaries, veterinary institutions, animal houses, pathological labs, and blood banks; the rules are applicable to even handlers.
BMW management involves the management of a range of activities, which are mainly engineering functions such as collection, transportation, the operation or treatment of processing systems, and disposal of wastes. 
The World Health Organization states that 85% of hospital wastes are actually nonhazardous, whereas 10% are infectious and 5% are noninfectious but they are all included in hazardous wastes. About 15-35% of hospital waste is regulated as infectious waste. This range is dependent on the total amount of waste generated (Glenn and Garwal, 1999). 
Inadequate BMW management causes environmental pollution, unpleasant smell, growth and multiplication of vectors such as insects, rodents, and worms, and may lead to the transmission of diseases like typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) through injuries from contaminated syringes and needles.  It is important to prevent various communicable diseases that spread through water, sweat, blood, body fluids, and contaminated organs. In hospitals, rag pickers who sort out the garbage are at a risk of getting tetanus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. The recycling of disposable syringes, needles, intravenous (IV) sets, and other articles like glass bottles without proper sterilization are responsible for hepatitis, HIV, and \other viral diseases. It becomes the primary responsibility of health administrators to manage hospital waste in a safer and eco-friendly manner. 
Need of BMW Management in Hospitals
Given below are the reasons due to which there is a great need for the management of hospital waste:
- Injuries from sharps leading to infection in all categories of hospital personnel and waste handlers.
- Nosocomial infections in patients due to poor infection control practices and poor waste management.
- Risk of infection outside the hospital for waste handlers and scavengers and at times, for the general public living in the vicinity of hospitals.
- Risks associated with hazardous chemicals and drugs to the persons handling wastes at all levels.
- "Disposable" being repacked and sold by unscrupulous elements without even being washed.
- Drugs that have been disposed of, being repacked, and sold off to unsuspecting buyers.
- The risk of air, water, and soil pollution directly due to waste, or due to defective incineration emissions and ash. 
Benefits of BMW Management
- Cleaner and healthier surroundings.
- Reduction in the incidence of hospital-acquired and general infections.
- Reduction in the cost of infection control within the hospital.
- Reduction in the possibility of diseases and deaths due to reuse and repackaging of infectious disposables.
- Low incidence of community and occupational health hazards.
- Reduction in the cost of waste management and generation of revenues through appropriate treatment and disposal of waste.
- Improved image of the health care establishment and betterment in the quality of life. 
If we want to protect our environment and the health of the community, we must sensitize ourselves to this important issue not only in the interest of health managers but also in the interest of the community.
| References|| |
Govt. of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests Gazette notification No. 460 dated July 27, New Delhi: 1998. p. 10-20.
McRae G, Agarwal R. Clinical Waste in Developing Countries. An Analysis with a Case Study of India, and a Critique of the Basle TWG Guidelines. 1999.
CEET: Biomedical Waste Management-Burgeoning issue. 2008.
Mathur P, Patan S, Shobhawat A. Need of biomedical waste management system in hospitals - an emerging issue - a review. Cur World Environ 2012;7:117-24.