Introduction to Waste Management

Topics: Waste, Waste management, Recycling Pages: 2 (548 words) Published: June 22, 2013
Over the past few years, public concern has been growing over the disposal of wastes produced by health care facilities in the Philippines. Several reports have cited large, albeit inconsistent, figures of the amount of infectious waste hospitals in Metro Manila produce daily, and little information is available on what is done with these wastes, especially after the banning of incineration in the country. More recently, these concerns have been fueled by reports that some of these wastes end up in our open dumpsites and in some cases, in rivers, leading some sectors to call for the allowing of incineration once again. Health care waste can be managed properly without the use of incinerators that produce toxic air pollutants that pose threat to human health and environment. To begin with, not all of the wastes produced by hospitals are infectious or hazardous. With proper management and the use of well-known solid waste management tools such as segregation and recycling, the portion of a hospital’s waste stream that poses risk to human and environmental health need not be cause of public fear. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2000, 21 million people all over the world were infected with the hepatitis B virus due to injections with contaminated syringes. Another 2 million people were infected with the hepatitis C virus due to the same cause, and about 260,000 were infected with HIV. Ironically, all these people acquired diseases as a result of the practices of the very institutions that should be protecting their health. The sheer nature of providing health care, unfortunately, creates wastes that can pose serious environmental and health risks to health care workers, waste handlers, and even waste pickers. This, however, is the case only if the wastes produced by health care facilities are not managed properly. In 2002, though, a WHO assessment conducted in 22 developing countries showed that 18% to 64% of health care facilities do not use...
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