So, before we discuss on which type of biomedical waste belongs to hazardous and non-hazardous group, can you name one such human activity that does not generate waste?
You are right, there is “NONE”.
Every human activity generates waste. From industrial waste to agricultural waste, you name it.
And we are very much aware that these wastes can be very harmful if we don’t dispose of them properly.
It can pollute the water, soil and even the air we breathe in!
How does biomedical waste play a role in it? And why are we talking about it?
Basically, biomedical waste can be divided into two categories:
- Hazardous biomedical waste
- Non-hazardous biomedical waste
There are different types of biomedical waste that come into these two categories. However, hazardous waste are those waste that are harmful whereas non-hazardous waste are those that are less harmful.
And according to the article from Mint, 85% of the total hospital waste generated is non-hazardous biomedical waste. That means 15% is hazardous biomedical waste.
However, don’t misunderstand with this statement. Even these non-hazardous waste can prove to be fatal. That is if we do not collect or dispose of them in the right way and at the right time.
Think of it this way, you have a very healthy red tomato in your kitchen. You keep it too long it will get spoiled. Even when it is fresh, you mix it with poisonous mushrooms while cooking, well I don’t have to tell you the consequences.
So, the same thing goes with non-hazardous biomedical waste.
You don’t dispose of it at the right time then it will harm the environment even more. Moreover, while collecting the waste you mixed it with hazardous biomedical waste, there will be no difference between both the waste. Both get hazardous.
Which Type of Biomedical Waste Falls in Which Category?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are eight types of biomedical waste. And these eight types of waste can be categorized into two categories that are hazardous biomedical waste and non-hazardous biomedical waste.
Hazardous Biomedical Waste
As the name sounds, infectious waste is a type of waste that can be infectious to humans, animals or marine life. For example, human tissue, cotton soaked with blood, etc.
Pathological waste consists of human or animal tissues, body fluids or organs. This also includes the body parts that are used in research.
Needless to say sharps waste are those waste that are sharp. This waste includes needles, razors, broken glass, scalpels, etc.
Chemical waste includes chemicals or liquids used for disinfection that is also known as disinfectants. Moreover, it includes heavy metals contained in medical devices such as mercury from a broken thermometer, batteries, etc.
These are basically the expired medicines which can be used anymore. Such as creams, pills, vaccines, antibiotics, etc.
Cytotoxic waste is also known as cytostatic waste. These are medicines waste that contain substances with genotoxic properties. For example cytotoxic drugs used for cancer treatment. Moreover, this waste also includes syringes or vials that are used for preparation or administration of such drugs.
Radioactive waste can be solid, liquid, or gas. Basically any waste contaminated with radionuclides. This includes radioactive diagnostic material or radiotherapeutic materials.
Non-hazardous Biomedical Waste
This type of waste is generally considered as non-risk waste. However, do not forget the statement mentioned above. This can be as fatal as hazardous waste if not treated the right way it should be. Anyway this waste can be compared to normal domestic garbage that includes paper waste, packaging waste, food waste or any waste that does not pose a threat.
Now that you are aware of which type of biomedical waste should be considered as hazardous or non-hazardous, do follow the guideline on disposing them depending on the category. This will not only prevent from harming yourself while managing the waste, but also people involve in the process. Most of all the environment we live in and the environment we will leave for the younger generations to come.
You can also read our blog on the guidelines on disposing biomedical waste.
Also, did I miss mentioning any type of waste? Do let me know in the comments section down below.