Author(s): Tsakona M, Anagnostopoulou E, Gidarakos E
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Abstract Hospital waste management is an imperative environmental and public safety issue, due to the waste's infectious and hazardous character. This paper examines the existing waste strategy of a typical hospital in Greece with a bed capacity of 400-600. The segregation, collection, packaging, storage, transportation and disposal of waste were monitored and the observed problematic areas documented. The concentrations of BOD, COD and heavy metals were measured in the wastewater the hospital generated. The wastewater's toxicity was also investigated. During the study, omissions and negligence were observed at every stage of the waste management system, particularly with regard to the treatment of infectious waste. Inappropriate collection and transportation procedures for infectious waste, which jeopardized the safety of staff and patients, were recorded. However, inappropriate segregation practices were the dominant problem, which led to increased quantities of generated infectious waste and hence higher costs for their disposal. Infectious waste production was estimated using two different methods: one by weighing the incinerated waste (880 kg day(-1)) and the other by estimating the number of waste bags produced each day (650 kg day(-1)). Furthermore, measurements of the EC(50) parameter in wastewater samples revealed an increased toxicity in all samples. In addition, hazardous organic compounds were detected in wastewater samples using a gas chromatograph/mass spectrograph. Proposals recommending the application of a comprehensive hospital waste management system are presented that will ensure that any potential risks hospital wastes pose to public health and to the environment are minimized.
This article was published in Waste Manag
and referenced in International Journal of Waste Resources