>U Mom Knows Best: Environmental Impact of Medical Waste Disposal

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Environmental Impact of Medical Waste Disposal

 Do you want to get familiar with the term medical waste disposal? Willing to know how biomedical disposal has been impacting the environment? 

If yes, this is the right article for you. 

 According to PubMed, around 96% of pain management doctors have treated chronic pain patients. Undoubtedly, they have the qualifications and training to treat people with any kind of injury or illness. To do so, they first evaluate and diagnose, then do the treatment. 

 No matter how significant the treatment is, in some way or another, biomedical disposal has been impacting the environment. But if it’s done in the right way, the consequences can be minimized. 

 In this article, we’ll get familiar with the disposal of medical waste, its consequences, and practices to conduct environmentally responsible ways of disposal of the waste.  

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

What is Medical Waste Disposal? 

 Medical Waste disposal, also known as biomedical waste or healthcare waste, is generated by activities related to healthcare. 

 Biomedical waste includes waste generated from hospitals, blood banks, dental practices, medical research, laboratories, etc. Medical waste contaminates blood, body, or other materials that can be infectious to the environment and creatures living there. 

The disposal method of biomedical waste can be categorized into: 

Encapsulation: In this method, you can find all the medical waste placed in a secure container. It also includes packaging that prevents any kind of leakage. 

Autoclaving: This method is considered one of the best methods to dispose of biomedical waste. Here, all the bacteria and viruses of healthcare waste are killed using steam. 

Chemical disinfection: Chemical disinfection decontaminates the waste by using chemicals to kill bacteria and viruses. 

 Not only medical professionals and workers but normal users like us need to get familiar with the term and its methods. You might wonder why. It’s necessary to know the right way to dispose of them. 

 According to WHO, 15% of biomedical waste contains hazardous materials that are infectious or radioactive. As a result, it creates a negative impact on aquatic life, ecosystems on land, irrigation systems, water, air, etc.

It eventually harms the health of human beings and degrades our environment.

Moreover, let’s get familiar with some of the major consequences of medical waste disposal on the environment! 

1. Air Pollution

 When you dispose of medical waste using incineration, it causes different types of pollutants to be released into the air. Some of them are dioxins and heavy metals. These pollutants are enormously harmful to living beings and the environment itself. 

 If you don’t manage the waste disposal carefully, the harmful contaminants are passed on from one place to the other through the air. 

 A lot of waste products that you get from the medical field react with the environment and air. Through this, a lot of harmful byproducts are created. Eventually, it releases into the air, which causes air pollution. 

 Moreover, you can mitigate these air pollution issues and save the environment through careful management and disposal of biomedical waste. 

2. Water Contamination and Diseases

 A lot of medical waste disposal is disposed of in water. The harmful chemicals present in these substances lead to the origin of various bacteria and viruses. We humans need water for different purposes. When we use contaminated water for any purpose, we get ill.

 Sometimes, pathogens are generated from biomedical waste. When you don’t dispose of these substances properly, they leach into the soil and then reach the underground water. Eventually, it results in water pollution.  

 Moreover, water pollution leads to an outbreak of waterborne diseases. Hence, it hugely affects aquatic life and life on land. 

3. Soil Pollution 

 A lot of hospitals make a common mistake by disposing of medical waste in open areas. As a result, the chemicals originating from the waste come in contact with the soil and cause soil pollution. 

 It not only affects the environment but also negatively impacts agriculture and the food we consume. When we consume food that is grown in intoxicated soil, we go through different health hazards. 

4. Wildlife Extinction 

 Improper disposal of waste has been severely affecting our biodiversity and ecosystem. The overall pollution caused in soil, water, and air leads to global warming and other environmental degradation. As a result, a lot of endangered animals are in the form of extinction. 

 Eventually, it will degrade the habitat of wildlife as there is a rapid risk of disease transmission. It’s also found that a lot of irresponsible people don’t manage waste. As a result, the wildlife and aquatic life get entangled in the plastic, or they eat it, which causes harm or leads to death. 

To stop it, we need to be responsible as the general public and minimize biomedical disposal. 

Best Practices for Environmentally Responsible Biomedical Disposal

We cannot completely eradicate medical waste disposal and its negative impact on the environment. However, there are some ways through which we can minimize it. Some disposals like glass and plastic can be reused. Also, we can use some alternatives that decay easily. 

 Also, a lot of medical experts claim that to manage the disposal, alternative elements can be used that will decompose easily. 

So, let’s learn about some practices for environmentally responsible biomedical disposal! 

Reuse and Recycle: Biomedical disposals like glass, cups, and probes can be reused. So, we’d suggest you reuse the waste that is in good order to control pollution in the environment. Similarly, you can use recycle-friendly materials to produce biofuels. 

Segregation and Proper Labeling: If you segregate the disposal properly, you’ll be able to label them properly. Eventually, this will make sure that your medical waste disposal is utilized in the right way. 

Prevention: Prevention is possible if the pain management doctors and workers focus on producing reusable items. Also, the focus should be on reducing the amount of biomedical waste. 

Hence, these are the top three ways to dispose the medical waste to protect the environment and creatures living here. 


 According to WHO, around 30% of healthcare facilities these days are not able to handle their medical waste disposal in the right way. As a result, it causes air, land, soil, and water pollution. It creates a negative impact on biodiversity and the living behavior of people. 

 With the increasing population, there is also an increment in the medical facilities that leads to an increase in biomedical waste. It may not be possible to eradicate this waste; however, we can definitely manage and minimize the waste. 

Hence, we must act today to provide our future generation with a clean and healthy environment. 

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