Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Medicowesome secret project: Segregation of waste and recycling

What is the Earth day secret project about?
Hello! This is IkaN here.

I wanted to extend my support to the Earth day secret project and emphasize the importance of segregation of waste and recycling.

Even as a premed, I gave a lot of importance to segregation of waste and all my environmental sciences projects were on it. I strongly feel that if we take care of our waste - we take care of our vast oceans and deep soil.

I remember doing a room decoration project in my summer camp in which we used and reused the materials so much that there was no thrash generated. I also avoid throwing newspapers, lil receipts, paper tickets and scrap paper in the bin. Because if you pile them and give them away in bulk, it is recycled!

I wish so strongly for a place to put my vegetable peels, so I can have fresh compost for my plants. I wish I could recycle everything! (explains why my pencil holders are decorated boxes and cans.)

Now let's talk about our role as medicos in the process of segregation of waste and recycling. Yes, you can help and make a difference.

In India, we have different colored bags for the disposal of biomedical waste. Every bag is disposed in a separate way. It helps reduce contamination and spread of diseases. But most importantly, it helps mother earth. If you don't segregate waste properly, plastic waste that was meant to be disinfected and recycled will end up in deep burial.

It's very sad that while working, I see many many medical students, interns (and even senior doctors at times) who don't know where waste goes and which bag stands for what.

You've used a glove for a simple blood collection. It isn't infected. Where does it go?
You've used a glove for dressing a pus filled infected wound. Where does this "infected" glove go? Does it go in the yellow bag where all the infected waste are? Or does it go in the red bag where recyclable waste goes?

If you don't know, please read up how the different hospital and biomedical waste material is disposed. If you go backwards, you'll figure out what goes in which bag and why.

Private hospitals have a waste segregation team which makes sure everything is disposed properly at the end of the day. But government hospitals don't.

If you're carelessly putting a glove in the yellow bag, chances are it'll stay there and get buried with the other pathological waste. It'll not get the autoclave / microwave / chemical treatment.

Remember, treated waste from the red containers are sent to registered or authorized recyclers or for energy recovery or plastics to diesel or fuel oil or for road making, whichever is possible. Plastic waste should not be sent to landfill sites.

So please, read up and segregate waste properly. Save mother earth!

Spread the awareness. If your colleagues are being careless about it, stop them. Share the message.

-IkaN

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