2,700 tons of plastic hospital waste created every year in the region
As the Middle East health sector grows and modernizes, discussion around the safe disposal of the region’s growing mountain of medical waste is increasing, driven by public health concerns and demands for better environmental protection.
Since medical waste is classified as more dangerous than ordinary garbage, successful hospital by-product management involves strict maintenance policies to avoid the spread of disease and prevent the leaching of hazardous chemicals into ground water. This situation is further complicated by the extreme climatic and environmental conditions of the Middle East, which can make storage and disposal problematic.
In response to these concerns, governmental and healthcare organizations are addressing the issue by establishing efficient waste management policies and systems. Some organizations, such as Saudi Gulf Environmental Protection Company – Sepco – have taken the lead in introducing advanced processes to the region.
“Medical waste disposal is a major issue, and it’s a positive sign that many countries in the region are aware of the challenges as they develop their medical facilities,” said Adel Salim Badeep, general manager, Sepco.
“Within Saudi Arabia, Sepco has introduced a range of recycling and microwave technology that has enabled the safe disposal of dangerous products, and our approach has been so successful that we’re now in discussions with groups across the region to develop similar treatment facilities,” adds Badeep.
Hospital waste can include a range of substances including laboratory waste, surgical and pathology by-products, sharp items such as used needles or scalpel blades, and bulk blood or blood products. The scale of the problem is significant – for example, it is estimated that around 2,700 tons of plastic hospital waste alone are created every year in the region.
The disposal of these items requires a precise and integrated regional plan for waste management, from audit, collection, separation, storage and transfer to final treatment, and authorities in the region are actively implementing strategies that ensure no harm comes to the environment during disposal processes. (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)