Medical Waste Management :Protecting the environment from potential toxic biohazards.

Medical waste is defined as any solid or liquid waste that is generated from treatment of human beings in a hospital or clinic, from clinical diagnosis and pathological testing and from medical research. It comprises sharps, non-sharps, blood, body fluids, dressing materials, surgically removed body tissues, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and radioactive materials. In developed countries, technologies such as autoclaving and incineration are used for treatment and final disposal of medical waste. However, in developing countries, medical waste has not received adequate attention, particularly when it is disposed of together with the domestic waste. As a consequence it may be a cause of disease amongst waste cleaners, waste pickers, collectors, and recycling waste operators. Furthermore, it has been reported that medical waste presents an increasingly high risk to doctors, nurses, technicians, drain cleaners, sweepers, hospital visitors and patients due to disorganized management.

Bangladesh, a developing country defining trend for its economy and society is the rapidly growing urban population. As a result of heavy influx of migrants; hospitals, clinic, private individual practitioners, dental clinics, diagnostic centres and pathology services are a growing feature of health care provision.  But the facilities for waste disposal from healthcare establishments (HCEs) cannot cope with the growing demands (PRISM, 2005). The situation is especially serious in Dhaka city the capital of Bangladesh.  Dhaka, already has a variety pollution issues, medical waste may add a new dimension of potential health hazards. Until 2004 no authorised proper medical waste treatment plant or dumping facilities had been established.  PRISM has established a medical waste treatment plant at Matuail, outskirt of Dhaka in 2004 with the collaboration of Dhaka City Corporation and support from other international organizations. The selected service area is the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) area which now is divided into two parts “Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC)” and “Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC)”.