Medical waste management has been creating a serious challenge in Nepal especially in Kathmandu valley. Although different types of pollution are becoming a challenge to Kathmandu city, improper management of health care waste creates great risk to the people. To protect the public and environment from potentially infectious disease causing agents the proper management of hospital waste is necessary. It is found that most of the hospitals and health care service providers in Kathmandu do not have proper medical waste management system, and they are directly mixing all types of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes together.
The waste materials produced during the course of health-care activities bear higher potential for infection and injury than any other type of general waste. Therefore, it is essential to have a safe and reliable method for its handling and management. Inadequate and inappropriate handling of such medical waste may have serious public health consequences and environmental impact.
Medical waste, also known as clinical waste, normally refers to any waste which is generated during the diagnosis, treatment, immunization or research activities of health care facilities. These are the products which cannot be considered general waste, and most of them are hazardous to human being and for environment. Waste generated by health care activities includes a broad range of materials from used syringes and needles to soiled dressings, body parts, diagnostic samples, blood, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and radioactive materials. About 80 to 90 percent of waste produced by hospitals is general waste comparable to domestic waste and the remaining 10 to 20 per cent is regarded as hazardous and may create a variety of health risks.
Deprived management of health-care waste potentially exposes health care workers, waste handlers, patients and the community at large to infection, toxic effects and injuries and risks polluting the environment. The medical waste should be segregated into a container at a point of generation and appropriately treated and disposed of safely. The best way of segregation is the use of colour-coded containers.
In Nepal, hospitals are only concerned with the curative aspects of diseases. They do not give much attention to hospital waste and other acquired infections due to hazardous wastes. Therefore, medical wastes have been creating much trouble. In our country there are no any medical waste management policies and plans and there is lack of proper monitoring.