Keeping out environment healthy isn’t easy. Doing so requires each and every person to make a conscious effort to keep our world clean, whether through recycling or proper disposal of garbage.
However, healthcare workers have an even bigger role following very specific protocols in order to keep contaminants away from themselves, colleagues and patients. Furthermore, this biohazard and medical waste can have a direct impact on the environment if mishandled.
Wildlife and Pharmaceuticals
If healthcare workers are not careful, improperly handled biohazard and medical waste can accidentally end up close to wildlife refuges. Lakes, parks and others areas are natural habitats for birds, animals and various fauna. The colors and scents of spilled medications are curious attractions to such wildlife, and as a result, wildlife may consume the medications out of curiosity, ultimately injuring or killing an animal.
Landfills are carefully constructed to keep waste in a controlled area. They’re even lined with specific materials so that nearby soil and groundwater isn’t contaminated. Improper biohazard waste disposal, however, can compromise even the best landfill designs. Syringes dumped into a regular landfill can easily rip into the lining. As rain falls in the future, any contaminants in the landfill will filter into the exterior soil. The groundwater becomes polluted as a result.
Possible Radioactivity Pollution
Doctors use a myriad of tools and devices for diagnostic purposes, some of which are disposable and radioactive. When these items are mishandled, radioactivity can enter landfills and other areas. Radioactive substances also give off particles that are dangerous to humans. In fact, excessive exposure to radioactivity can lead to serious diseases.
It’s crucial for healthcare workers to maintain strict guidelines when it comes to radioactive medical waste.
A strong alternative to landfill disposal is incineration, which is the destruction of medical waste through burning. However, improper ignition can create pollutants that merely move through the air. Incineration facilities must be able to maintain a certain temperature in order to destroy every atom of waste. If not, airborne pollutants may have worse effects than land-based methods because of their spreading ability.
It’s important for every person near biohazard waste to be aware of it’s handling. If an obvious error is being observed, such as soiled linens entering a regular trash can, observers need to speak up. Everyone has a responsibility to protect the environment from improper biohazard waste disposal. The Earth and its resources will be protected even more with diligent minds caring for the environment.