ENVIRONMENTAL COST – GLOBAL ISSUE OF TOO MUCH WASTE AND IMPROPER DISPOSAL
High-income countries generate on average up to 0.5 kg of hazardous waste/hospital bed per day. Hospitals in the US produce more than 5.9 million tonnes of medical waste per year, which will escalate exponentially during an epidemic.
In 2015, a joint WHO/UNICEF assessment found that 40%, of sampled facilities from 24 countries, had inadequate systems in place for the safe disposal of health care waste.Current options, such as open burning and incineration, landfill, or chemically treating waste, all have failings. The focus must be on reducing hospital waste to lessen the burden of disposal.
During recent respiratory epidemics, there was a global shortage of disposable masks. When staff are vulnerable to infection, this adversely affects attendance and patient care.
Disposable masks cause discomfort with improper fit, fogging and reduced visibility, heat stress
and dizziness with rebreathed air and breathing resistance. When staff are uncomfortable, productivity falls and patient care is affected.