There are many different types of waste and all need to be handled in the correct way if we are to protect people and also the environment. One type of waste that definitely needs to be disposed of carefully and properly is cytotoxic waste. Cytotoxic drugs have chemicals that can help to stop the spread of cancers and other diseases. But they also have significant risks when being handled. Who could be at risk? Really, it could be anyone who works with those receiving these drugs, including those working with animals. Also, those who work in laboratories making the drugs, and those who dispose of the drugs. There need to be appropriate measures in place to protect each one of these individuals.
If appropriate measures aren’t in place and followed correctly, it could result in changes to blood cell count levels, mutational forming of cells, hair loss, vomiting, damage to the liver, fetal loss or abnormalities in pregnant women, allergic reactions, and skin conditions.
Then and Now
There was a time when medical waste generated by hospitals was incinerated on-site, but this proved to be problematic for many reasons, not least the level of pollution emitted.
Today, hospital waste is usually dealt with by private contractors. They supply the waste bins and bags needed, collect used bins and bags on a pre-determined schedule or on-demand, and transport everything to a special medical waste management facility. There, waste is heat-treated and/or incinerated. Some waste is transferred to a transfer station first, before being disposed of later (usually within 30 days).
Waste – A Bigger Problem
Waste as a whole is a problem of huge proportions. Worldwide, the effects on the environment are catastrophic. Excessive amounts of waste are being dumped into the oceans having a devastating effect on marine life, which people are only just starting to realize, then has an effect on us humans. Landfills may take garbage away from outside our homes but they just become unsightly dumps that still produce toxic gases which can be fatal for both humans and animals.
Another major problem that shows the attitudes of many is littering. You’d be hard-pressed to walk down a single street and not find a piece of trash on the ground due to someone’s careless littering. I’m sure we’ve all seen it, when even just inches from a trash can, someone will choose to let their litter drop to the ground instead.
And this is where the problem lies, waste and the effect on the environment is something each individual needs to play their part in. Yes, the big businesses and corporations, the factories, the hospitals, they all need to take responsibility and do their part. But we can’t sit back and place all the responsibility and blame at their door. All of us can help the global waste problem by doing our part. Recycle and reuse what you can and when you do throw trash away, make sure it is in a bin and not on the street.