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Healthcare Waste: As a Risk to The Environment and Public Health

TitleHealthcare Waste: As a Risk to The Environment and Public Health
Publication Type Research Reports
Year of Publication2022
KeywordsBiomedical waste Healthcare waste Healthcare workers Public Health COVID-19 Infections Diseases

Healthcare facilities (HCFs), such as hospitals, clinics and pathological labs, are places where life-saving services are provided. But these HCF are also a potential site for infections. Diseases may spread if the waste generated at HCFs is not appropriately managed.

Mismanagement of healthcare waste has been widely reported across India, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic’s spread. This mismanagement has been seen as posing challenges on two levels—first, the risk of spread of infections; and second, the pollution of air, water and soil because of the open burning of or dumping of PPE kits, vaccine vials and medicines.

The pandemic reiterated an important lesson — ‘no one is safe until everyone is safe’; moreover, the animal origin of the virus also strengthened the approach of ‘One Health,’ which upholds the interconnection of people, animals, plants, and their shared environment for better public health outcomes. This report seeks to review the environmental and health challenges of healthcare waste generated by HCF and its impact on public health.

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